Let's Learn About Marine Litter!

Looking at marine litter

Have you been to the beach recently? What was the environment like? Most people have probably been there for swimming or camping. Much of the time the clean coasts you find are being maintained through cleanup activities by local people.

Now take a look at the beach in the off season when few people are using it. You are sure to notice a surprising amount of litter and debris that has been washed-up.

Drifting objects can invoke images of romantic tales from old as something to be discovered or collected such as the words known from the poem by Toson Shimazaki about "a coconut that washed ashore from an unknown island far away…"

Nowadays, however, against a backdrop of mass production and consumption of manufactured goods, the unmistakable issue of scattered litter has developed, and includes regions that have great trouble collecting and disposing of the vast amount of litter that is washed ashore and accumulates.

Not only does this litter spoil beautiful coastal scenery, but it also has an adverse effect on sea life. In addition to that washed ashore, is the litter that remains in the water and on the seafloor, which once there is very difficult to remove.

Litter consists of a variety of different types and is caused by a range of human activities. The marine litter problem, which is related to the familiar problem of discarded litter as well as global marine pollution, has become an issue that requires international efforts.
We, who are fortunate to receive many bounties from the sea in daily life, must go beyond our individual views, and consider this issue putting appropriate measures into action together.
Even as citizens, we should just make an effort starting by doing whatever is within our capabilities. For example, this certainly includes not discarding litter, but your first step could also be such things as participating in cleanup activities of places in your local area. This website was established in the hope that everyone will think along this way.

What is marine litter?

Litter washed onto coasts is known as washed-up litter. There is also drifting litter caught in currents within the sea or on its surface, and seabed litter that has sunk to the seafloor and accumulated there. Together the three types are incorporated within the term marine litter.

This kind of litter is the result of careless handling or disposal (dumping) on land or at sea, or is that which has been carried unintentionally by water from heavy rainfall, etc. Influenced by the wind and ocean currents it drifts within the sea or on its surface, heavy objects sinking to the seafloor and a part of the others being washed-up on coasts. (There is also that litter which has been discarded there on the coast however.)

As marine litter can be carried in this way far from where it originated, there is growing concern about the spread of this pollution over a vast area. Amongst the large variety of litter, plastic products, such as PET bottles and food containers, are having a profound effect on the marine environment, living things and ecosystems, which is being feared because they do not easily decompose and almost permanently remain in nature.

We want an always beautiful beach.

But sometimes it looks like this.
(The angle is different, but it is the same beach shown on the left.)

photo by COZY