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Emma Brown

on 5 December 2014

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Group Video and pictures
The Project:
After being assigned our final project, our group decided, as a whole, that we wanted to travel to Wrightsville Beach in an attempt to help keep trash on the beach from getting into the ocean. We traveled to Wrightsville Beach on Thursday, November 20th at 3:30 PM.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In the heart of the Pacific Ocean, there is a ring of plastic trash almost twice the size of Texas. Almost all of this trash is not biodegradable and thus just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until sea creatures either eat it or get tangled in it. According to the article Earth - What a Dump - The World's Biggest Trash Heap is Stewing in the Pacific Ocean, in a twenty year study 36,748,786 items including  cigarettes, caps/lids, plates, bags, plastic and glass bottles, straws, rope, food wrappers, etc. were collected from the ocean. This garbage patch is so large that some have started calling it an 8th Continent.
Beach Pollution Overall
The main types of pollution we see on our nations beaches today can be categorized into solids and sludges. Solids are found just about everywhere on the sand and in ocean. The most common type of solid is plastic which turns into the huge problem of micro plastic. Other common things found on the beach are cans, cigarette butts, glass, and even diapers. Sludges are anything not solid such as sewage, oil, runoff, or anything in between. The big issue with sewage is that it often goes untreated before it enters the ocean. The main problem with runoff is that it is hard to prevent the flow of chemicals with the help of rain from happening. To prevent solids from reaching the beach and the ocean, always pick up after yourself when at the beach and don't leave trash in the streets to be washed into storm drains and into the ocean. To prevent untreated sewage from entering the ocean, the infrastructure of swewage treatment plants must be maintained and more need to be built. Finally to prevent runoff permeable ground needs to be installed.
Trash's effect on Marine Life
80% of the trash in the ocean comes from land, people putting trash in or near the ocean. Birds, Sea Turtles, Fish, and other marine animals often eat debris, haven mistaken it for a meal. A study on Sea Turtles shows that 61% of the turtles have eaten some sort of debris at some point in their lifetime. Eating trash can lead the animals to starvation, or it can poison them. Another way trash kills animals is by entangling them making them not able to move or breathe. More often than not, the trash kills the marine animals either quickly or slowly.

Sea Turtles
Keeping Trash Out of the Ocean

Making a difference doesn't happen in a day. But every act, no matter how small, makes a difference. We worked to pick up trash on the beach to keep it out of our precious oceans.
It takes about 50-60 days for Sea Turtle eggs to hatch. At a lot of beaches in North Carolina, specifically Atlantic Beach, have volunteers who rope off areas where sea turtles have laid their eggs. According to an article by the US Fish and Wildlife service, a Sea Turtle's nest can easily have up to about 100 eggs in it and the most threatened sea turtles in North Carolina are the Loggerhead Turtles. Once these little creatures have hatched, it can be dangerous for them to find any litter on the beach because they can easily get entangled in it or even possibly choke on it. Trash is a pretty obvious thing to pick up at the beach, but it is also important to make sure all of your beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. are picked up so they don't interfere with the mother turtles laying their eggs.
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