Disposable plastics pose environmental risks as they accumulate,
particularly in the marine environment.
The University of Georgia Marine Extension Service strives to increase
awareness of disposable plastics in coastal communities and worldwide.
Plastics are designed to be highly durable, yet are increasingly used in
manufacturing disposable items. Litter often finds its way into the
ocean either directly from beaches or by way of storm drains. Many
animals become entangled or mistakenly ingest plastic debris.
MAREX began a Water Quality Program outreach effort in 2011 to address
plastic debris in the ocean and present consumer options to reduce human
impact on the marine environment. In a hands-on educational program, an
interactive presentation is paired with creative activities to cultivate
support for environmental protection and stewardship.
Participants examine real ocean water samples to explore how, as
plastics break down, microscopic fragments displace plankton and impact
the food chain. In addition, participants discuss innovative display
items such as bags and notebooks made from repurposed debris and are
encouraged to consider local and global aspects of the plastic debris
issue and practice sustainable actions in their own lives.