Florida Sea Grant

Marine Debris

Miami-Dade Sea Grant is working to prevent and reduce the impacts and presense of marine debris on our coastal and marine ecosystems.

Coastal pollution is a growing problem. In the United States, the average person throws away 5 lbs of garbage each day, about 1/4 of which is non-biodegradable. Trash and debris in the marine environment are a danger to the health and safety of marine animals and ecosystems, as well as an ugly addition to Florida’s beautiful waters.

The majority of debris in our waters are plastics. Plastic doesn't degrade, instead it breaks down into smaller and smaller peices. This can cause injury and death to animals who mistakingly consume it.

The table below shows the length of time that it takes for various items to degrade in the ocean (from Mote Marine Lab).

Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP)

The Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP) is a statewide effort to educate the public on the problems caused by monofilament line left in the environment, to encourage recycling through a network of line recycling bins and drop-off locations, and to conduct volunteer monofilament line cleanup events.

Discarded monofilament can cause an environmental hazard for fish, turtles and birds which become entangled in the line. Boat motors and people can also become entangled.  Monofilament can be recycled—melted down and used to manufacture fish habitats. 

Are you looking for a location to take your fishing line so that it can be recycled?  For locations recycling locations or to find out how to start your own monofilament recycling location, check the MRRP website.

SEAFAN - Southeast Florida Action Network

The Southeast Florida Action network is a reporting and response system designed to improve the protection and management of Southeast Florida's coral reefs by enhancing marine debris clean-up efforts, increasing response to vessel groundings and anchor damage, and providing early detection of potentially harmful biological disturbances. To report marine debris and other unusual sightings go to the SEAFAN website.

Marine Debris Curriculum

The Educator's Guide to Marine Debris : Southeast and Gulf of Mexico" (2009) was produced by the COSEE Southeast Program.  You can view the online version here.



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