Marine Debris Essay

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Discussion:

Marine Debris, also known as marine trash is man-made waste that is released into oceans and coastal waters due to human activities. Marine debris brings up many environmental problems to both humans and the marine ecosystem. According to Ocean Conservancy (2014), the common types of marine debris collected include cigarette butts, food wrappers, beverage bottles and cans, plastic bags, straws and glass bottles. Although these wastes seem to come from offshore activities, studies suggest only 20% of the pollution comes from ships or offshore platforms, the rest originates from land-based activities (Sheavly & Register, 2007). We will discuss the causation and effects of marine debris and propose solutions to mitigate marine litter issue in Singapore.

Causation

From ocean sources, the cause of marine debris can be associated with improper disposal of trash from ships and recreational boats at sea. Boaters and fishermen might intentionally or accidentally dump waste into the oceans. Some of them are not aware of the environmental impacts of their actions and thus they carry on their practices
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Economically, two industries will be severely impacted by marine debris which are tourism and fishery. In tourism industry, marine debris can make beaches look ugly and dirty, lower the aesthetic values of the beaches and eventually result in lost revenue from tourism. To mitigate the problem, local communities would have to spend money to clean up their beaches which leads to another economic lost. For example, New Jersey are spending 1.5 million dollars annually to clean up its beaches (YOTO Discussion Papers, 1998). In fishery industry, fishermen are economically affected when their fishing gears and vessels are entangled or damaged by marine debris. This will impact the livelihoods of local communities because repairing these damaged facilities is highly expensive and time

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