Marine Debris

Marine debris or trash is one of the biggest environmental threats since much of the debris is comprised of plastics and other materials that resist natural degradation. This results in adverse effects to marine organisms via ingestion and entanglement.

Marine debris poses: ingestion (causes damage to digestive system – malnutrition/starvation), suffocation (block passageways or normal growth), and entanglement (six-pack rings; decreased mobility causes difficulties in eating, breath, swimming) risks to marine life.

The Research Department at PWF is simultaneously studying marine debris and odontocete distribution within Maui's leeward waters to quantify the potential impacts of debris on marine mammals. Below are all debris items collected to date.