Marine Debris in Your Backyard: Alaska
I know my first mental images of Alaska include wide open spaces, nature and crystal clean waters. It’s very unfortunate that marine debris has such a negative impact on “The Last Frontier”!
By Peter Murphy
When people think of Alaska, most imagine a pristine wilderness with jagged snow-capped mountains, blue-ice glaciers, salmon, bears of various kinds, and of course, a lot of space. While all of these things are to be found in what is rightly called the Last Frontier, it is also a place where marine debris is a very impactful and challenging problem. So what makes Alaska unique from other areas of the United States dealing with marine debris?
Alaska has a rugged and vast shoreline – more than the rest of the United States combined at over 44,000 miles, enough to circle the Earth almost twice at the equator – and incredible marine resources. Open ocean currents and winter storms bring significant amounts of debris to Alaska’s shores every year.
Some areas with the highest debris density on record have been remote beaches. For example, one beach at Gore…
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