A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pictured: One Sea Turtle’s Worth of Plastic

Published March 22, 2011 in Wired Science by Brandon Keim Email Author

Joining the Laysan albatross as icons of ocean plastic pollution are sea turtles, which consume bellyfuls of debris while swimming through Earth’s five great ocean garbage patches.

Pictured above are the stomach contents of a juvenile sea turtle accidentally captured off the coast of Argentina. The image echoes famous photographs taken by Chris Jordan and Susan Middleton of decomposing albatrosses on the island of Midway.

About 0.25 percent of all plastic ends up in the ocean. That might not sound like much, but humanity produces about 260 million tons of plastic a year. Tiny fractions add up fast. Oceanic plastic is pulled into the center of rotating currents, or gyres, where it doesn’t degrade, but breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. Some pieces end up in plankton and algae, or drift to the ocean floor. Others are mistaken for food by turtles.

The phenomenon is described in a new research review (.pdf) published by the Global Sea Turtle Network and spotlighted by the fifth International Marine Debris Conference, now ongoing in Honolulu, Hawaii.

One anecdote in the article, written by biologists Wallace Nichols of the California Academy of Science and the University of British Columbia’s Colette Wabnitz, stands out. “Relief of gastrointestinal obstruction of a green turtle off Melbourne beach, Florida, resulted in the animal defecating 74 foreign objects over a period of a month, including four types of latex balloons, different types of hard plastic, a piece of carpet-like material, and two 2- to 4-mm tar balls, they wrote.

Like so many environmental problems, ocean plastic seems overwhelming. But countries like China, South Africa and Thailand are already taxing or banning single-use plastic bags, which pose the greatest threat to turtles.

Individuals can help by cutting back on bag and bottle use, and finding ways to avoid plastic. Someday, perhaps, humanity might quit throwing away plastic altogether. Wrote Nichols, “There is no stopping the ingenious human mind.”

Images: 1) Debris found in the gastrointestinal content of a juvenile green turtle accidentally captured in Bahía Samborombón, Argentina./Victoria González Carman. 2) Loggerhead turtle./Damien du Toit, Flickr.

Brandon is a Wired Science reporter and freelance journalist. Based in Brooklyn, New York and Bangor, Maine, he's fascinated with science, culture, history and nature.
Follow @9brandon on Twitter.

Here are two articles I found also that are related:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

100 percent plant-based, renewably sourced PET bottles

Now this sounds like some promising news!  I look forward to the day...  ~Melanie

by Tammy Jo Anderson Taft for the Pacific Daily News, read the full story here >>

The end of some of these long-lasting plastics may be in sight. Making plastic requires large amounts of petroleum. Engineers are developing ways to make plastic out of grass, corn and other plant materials. Last week, PepsiCo announced its engineers have developed the "world's first 100 percent plant-based, renewably sourced PET bottle."

These bottles are made from switch grass, pine bark and corn husks, making them entirely plant-based. In the future, the company hopes to make bottles from agriculture byproducts such as potato peels and orange peels.

Pepsi's engineers have figured out how to use these plant-based materials to create a molecular structure that is identical to petroleum-based plastic.

The new bottles will go into pilot production next year. If it works, Pepsi plans to go full-scale with using the plant-based bottles for its products.
PepsiCo announced its engineers have developed the "world's first 100 percent plant-based, renewably sourced PET bottle." These bottles are made from switch grass, pine bark and corn husks, making them entirely plant-based. In the future, the company hopes to make bottles from agriculture byproducts such as potato peels and orange peels.
PepsiCo announced its engineers have developed the "world's first 100 percent plant-based, renewably sourced PET bottle." These bottles are made from switch grass, pine bark and corn husks, making them entirely plant-based. In the future, the company hopes to make bottles from agriculture byproducts such as potato peels and orange peels. / Photo courtesy of PEPSICO
For more about Pepsi's new plastic bottles and its other recycling efforts, visit www.pepsico.com.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pollution-trawling voyage finds ocean's plastic 'soup'

published 25 March 2011 by Ferris Jabr in New Scientist

If you trawl a fine mesh net through any of the globe's five subtropical gyres – giant ocean vortexes where currents converge and swirl unhurriedly – you will haul on deck a muddle of brown planktonic goop, the occasional fish, squid or Portuguese man-of-war – and, almost certainly, a generous sprinkling of colourful plastic particles, each no larger than your fingernail.

Every flake of plastic cup or shard of toothbrush handle is a sponge for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) – potentially hazardous compounds that do not degrade easily and cling to any hard surface they find. The fate of all this plastic determines not only the health of marine life, but also our own; if fish are feasting on these toxic morsels, then we probably are too.

Last month researchers from the 5 Gyres Institute in Santa Monica, California, and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, California, sailed into Piriápolis, Uruguay. They had just completed the third leg of the first expedition ever to study plastic pollution in the South Atlantic subtropical gyre. In every single trawl, the team discovered plastic.

"This issue has only recently come to the public's attention," says Anna Cummins, co-founder of 5 Gyres. "We're trying to document the issue and get baseline information because there is such a scarcity of data."

Plastic dust

There are still significant gaps in the data the crew can collect, however. The nets that they use cannot capture plastic particles that are smaller than one-third of a millimetre across. "After a certain size these particles just disappear," says Cummins. "What is their ultimate state? They could very well break down to a size where they are ingested by fish."

Cummins also explains that trawling gathers plastic particles from surface waters only. Different kinds of plastic may be suspended at different depths – a dreadful rainbow of rubbish spanning the ocean from top to bottom – but no one has done the research to find out.

What 5 Gyres researchers are currently investigating, however, is whether surface-feeding fish are ingesting plastic – and if so, what that does to them. Chelsea Rochman, who studies marine ecology and ecotoxicology at San Diego State University in California, joined the 5 Gyres team in November for a month-long trawl in the South Atlantic. In addition to sampling the water and plastic, Rochman used a special net to collect around 660 lanternfish – a ubiquitous family of small bioluminescent fish that make up around 65 per cent of all deep sea fish biomass. Lanternfish inhabit the dim depths during the day, but swim to the surface at night to feed, so if any fish would have plastic in their guts, it would be these guys.

Back at her lab, Rochman has started analysing the water and plastic samples for the presence of POPs. She has also started slicing open the lanternfish so she can determine if they are eating plastic and whether POPs are accumulating in their tissues. Rochman wants to see whether fish caught in highly polluted areas of the gyres have more plastic in their guts and higher levels of POPs than those taken from less polluted waters. Confirming that distinction would suggest that fish are indeed consuming toxic morsels.

In another lab experiment, Rochman fed one group of fish a diet infused with plastic, and another group a plastic-free diet. Preliminary results show that the fish which ate plastic endured significant weight loss and liver damage. "We are going to look for tumours, cell death and congestion in the organs that filter toxins," she says.

Plastic, plastic, everywhere

Plastic in the ocean would not be so worrisome if only certain areas were polluted, but it appears to travel everywhere. Worse, it's hard to pin down exactly where, say, the remains of a candy wrapper blown out to sea in China will eventually drift. One tool is providing some answers, however. For at least two decades oceanographers have deployed thousands of Lagrangian drifting buoys, which are designed to map surface ocean currents rather than wind patterns or waves.

"We realised that our buoys are in fact a kind of marine debris," says Nikolai Maximenko of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, who collaborated with 5 Gyres researchers to identify which areas of the ocean should have especially high levels of plastic pollution. Wherever the buoys gather most densely, the reasoning goes, is also where plastic particles should cluster. And that is what the researchers have found so far: all our plastic waste meets and circulates in the gyrating wastes of the ocean.

More surprising is that despite the lure of the gyres, the buoys – and, therefore, probably plastic in general – really get around. "It's amazing to see the global patterns," says Maximenko. "I just found out that one surface drifter went very close to the North Pole in summer 2009, and another made two loops around Antarctica."
What researchers have established so far is that the plastic in the oceans is persistent and pervasive. 

Investigations into what all this pollution means for wildlife and people are just getting started, but the early signs are not reassuring. "The ocean is not infinite. It doesn't have room for our waste," says Cummins.

Plastic Particles Circulating Endlessly in World's Oceans

published March 2011 by Ferris Jabr in IPS news

HONOLULU, Hawaii, U.S., Mar 24, 2011 (IPS) - That plastic bottle or plastic take-away coffee lid that has 20 minutes of use can spend decades killing countless seabirds, marine animals and fish, experts reported here this week.

On remote Pacific island atolls, diligent albatross parents unknowingly fill their chicks' bellies with bits of plastic that resemble food. The chicks die of malnutrition, and when their bodies decay all those plastic bottle tops, disposable lighters, and the ubiquitous bits of plastic detritus get back into the environment in a cruel perversion of 'recycling'.

There is now so much plastic in the oceans it is likely that virtually every seabird has plastic in its belly if its feeding habits mean it mistakes plastic bits for food. The same is true for sea turtles, marine animals or fish, experts say.

Northern fulmars, a common seabird numbering in the millions, have a collective 45 tonnes worth of plastic bits in their bellies, estimates Jan Andries van Franeker, a biologist with the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies at the University of Wageningen in Holland.

At least 95 percent of fulmars in the North Sea where van Franeker has been working for three decades have one to several dozen bits of plastic in their stomachs. The same is true for related species like the tiny Wilson's storm petrels, which unknowingly transport an estimated 35 tonnes of plastic from their wintering grounds in the North Atlantic to breeding grounds in the Antarctic, he says.

"If a seabird's feeding habits mean it could mistake plastic for food, then it will likely have plastic in its stomach," he said in an interview at the weeklong Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, which ends Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii.

It has been 10 years since the last international marine debris conference and the hope is that industry, civil society, researchers and policy makers will find common ground on the strategies and best practices to assess, reduce, and prevent the impacts of marine debris. "I sometimes have this kind of dream or nightmare where those fulmars drop all of that plastic on an audience in big conference room like this," van Franeker told IPS. "It would make a very clear statement."

It is a statement that needs to be made with the escalating problem of the world's oceans being filled a staggering amount of plastic, fishing gear, and all other kinds of debris. There is no accurate accounting of exactly how much but it appears to be in the tens of millions of tonnes each year and is mostly from land-based sources.

A 2006 United Nations Environment Programme estimate suggested every square kilometere of world's ocean has an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on the surface. A walk on an ocean shoreline anywhere in the world will provide ample evidence of the scale of the problem - unless it was recently cleaned up.

The Ocean Conservancy, a U.S.-based NGO, has been leading beach and shoreline cleanups around the world for 25 years. Over that time, nearly nine million volunteers in 152 countries have cleaned up and catalogued 66 million kilogrammes of trash, according a new report released here in Honolulu.

The top three trash items collected by number of items found were cigarette butts, food packaging and bottle caps or lids. Plastic bags, bottles and straws or stirrers also made the top 10. "People don't realise that the cumulative impact of marine debris is a major issue for the oceans," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are conference co-sponsors. (Full disclosure: UNEP provided travel funding for IPS to attend the conference). (END)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Barrier island bag ban is working

Originally posted in the Lumina News 

by Marimar McNaughton
Thursday, March 10, 2011

It has been five months since a state statute to reduce the single use of plastic bags has been enacted for three of North Carolina’s coastal counties—Currituck, Dare and Hyde—a region identified by its brand: the Outer Banks.

Dare County manager, Bobby Outten said by telephone Wednesday, March 9 that compliance has not been an issue. "It’s not our responsibility to enforce a state law, but when you go into any of the stores, there are no plastic bags … they’re gone," Outten said.

The statute does not apply to the purchase of fish and seafood, meat, poultry and produce while paper bags stamped with the recycled symbol are now the standard in big box stores like Wal-Mart, Food Lion and Harris Teeter, Outten said. "It’s just not an issue," he added.

Incremental enactment of the statute has been in the works since September 2009 when Senate Bill 1018, ratified in June 2009, was amended. "There was a grace period, if you’d already ordered your bags you could use them but you couldn’t order any new ones," Outten said. "Basically it allowed people to get rid of what they had before the season started the next year."

Smaller stores, less than 5,000 square feet, that are not part of a retail chain, have until May 1 this year before making the switch.

The subject of a plastic bag ban was first mentioned locally by alderman Lisa Weeks while she was working with Sean Ahlum in September 2009 to develop a door-to-door recycling survey for Wrightsville Beach residents. Ahlum was then the president of the Surfrider Foundation Cape Fear chapter but has since joined the organization’s international board of directors.

Weeks, now Mayor Pro Tem of the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen said Ahlum is on the BOA’s April agenda to speak about Surfrider’s bag ban initiatives in larger locales, Washington, D.C., for example.
"I think the Atlantic and Pacific garbage patch will resonate with people … with trash washing ashore," Weeks said. "It never goes away. It just breaks down, breaks down, breaks down and enters the food chain."

Weeks, along with Mayor David Cignotti, has mentioned the possibility of a plastic bag law for New Hanover County to Rep. Danny McComas in January; but when the topic was raised by county commission vice chairman Jason Thompson at a joint meeting of aldermen and commissioners last month, in Weeks’ absence, Alderman Susan Collins said the item had not been discussed as a board.

"It hasn’t been an item," Weeks said by telephone on Wednesday, March 9, "because I felt like it’s got to be a county-wide initiative so it’s really up to the county to see if it’s even feasible for us to write legislation before I put it on the agenda for us to make a resolution for it."

There is more than one way to approach the larger issue besides an outright ban, Weeks said.
"Some municipals do a 10-cent charge on the bag and when you bring it back you get credited so there’s an incentive to recycle the bags, and others charge an outright 10 cents a bag and use that money … for purchasing green open space," Weeks said.

Outten, who said he keeps a stash of reusable cloth bags in his vehicle, shops at Food Lion, where he said, "They give you a nickel off your bill per bag."

When the legislation process began, Outten said then Sen. Marc Basnight called elected officials and county administrators to talk with them about what he wanted to do, why he wanted to see it done and why it was important. Those ideals were later drafted in early 2009 by Sen. Josh Stein of Wake County as SB 1018.
The ratified statute includes language that supports the detrimental effect that single-use discarded plastic bags have in the landfill and on the environment especially in a coastal setting—namely barrier islands that because of their proximity to the Gulf Stream are important sea turtle nesting grounds.

"Discarded plastic bags contribute to overburdened landfills, threaten wildlife and marine life, degrade the beaches and other natural landscapes of North Carolina’s coast, and in many cases, require consumption of oil and natural gas during the manufacturing process."

The statute also acknowledges the sheer numbers of seasonal visitors to barrier islands and the increased use of plastic bags due to the volume of restaurant, grocery and retail purchases.

"Barrier islands are small and narrow, and therefore the comparative impact of plastic bags on the barrier islands is high," the statute states. Weeks said she spoke with Thompson about the feasibility of enrolling Masonboro Island into any draft resolution or future legislation as a stand-in for the National Seashore areas identified in the Outer Banks statute.

Thompson has said he would not pursue the matter further until Wrightsville Beach aldermen had arrived at some consensus which Weeks is hoping to build as Ahlum makes the rounds in the next several months presenting Surfrider’s findings to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and the county before she puts a resolution before the BOA.

A Gallon of Garbage Found in Belly of Dead Whale in Seattle

A youthful Gray Whale was found recently washed up on a shore in West Seattle.  The 37-foot mammal had some unusual contents found in its stomach; more than 20 plastic bags, a pair of sweat pants, hand towels, surgical gloves, pieces of plastic, duct tape, and a golf ball.

This is not the first time human-produced debris has been found in the belly of a whale.  Although, according to the Cascadia Research Collective (CRC), “this appeared to be a larger quantity than had ever been found previously.”

50 gallons of mostly undigested content was found in the stomach of the whale.  The majority of this was algae, but between 1-2% of the stomach content was garbage.  Examination of the whale concluded that its death was most likely not caused by the garbage.  Regardless, CRC points out, “It did clearly indicate that the whale had been attempting to feed in industrial waters and therefore exposed to debris and contaminants present on the bottom in these areas.”

Dozens of whales turn up dead on the beaches of the Puget Sound every year.  This number is haunting because many of these whales are dying from starvation.  The lack of food may be the reason why this particular whale decided to feed in industrial waters around the Seattle area.

Gray whales are filter feeders; which means they suck in sediment in shallow waters and filter the contents to strain out the small organisms that live there.  This process used to leave Gray Whales with a few rocks and some sediment left over in their stomach.  However now these whales are now trying to filter plastics, rubber, and whatever else is making up the garbage in our oceans.

Industrial waters are not the only human-caused problem aquatic wildlife have to deal with.  Mass amounts of trash in our oceans have led to things like the great Pacific Ocean garbage patch.  Here, strong ocean currents have collected a large congregation of trash and created, what some would consider to be, a “trash island”.  Descriptions of this collection of garbage range from a couple hundred miles across to the size of France.
Ocean pollution leads to a crippling cycle amongst the food chain.  When the prey of larger marine species consumes the trash, so do their predators.  This non-nutritional snack also kills off large portions of the food source; leading to starvation throughout the ecosystem.

Plastics are potentially the biggest concern when considering the threat of garbage on aquatic life.  This is because plastics will never biodegrade.  They simply break up into smaller pieces and get filtered through the ecosystem.  Sea turtles have been known to mistake plastic bags for their main source of food; jellyfish.
While plastic bags pose a major problem, it’s the plastic resin pellets that seem to be causing the most disruption.  These industrial-use granules are typically shipped half-way around the world before they can be melted in commercial-grade plastic.  Considering their size, many get discarded along the way and end up washing to the sea with other plastics.  Sea birds and fish alike mistake them for food and eat them, sometimes feeding them to their offspring and unintentionally killing them.  They will eventually photodegrade, but as they do they leach toxic chemicals like bisphenol A into the water.

What can we do as consumers to help stop the spread of garbage pollution?  The first thing we should focus on is recycling our plastics and investing more of our money into biodegradeable materials.

According to Holly Bamford, director of NOAA's Marine Debris Program, "We need to turn off the taps at the source. We need to educate people on the proper disposal of things that do not break up, like plastics," she says. "Opportunities for recycling have to increase, but, you know, some people buy three bottles of water a day. As a society, we have to get better at reusing what we buy."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trash still litters remote beaches in Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Originally posted by Adam Williams on March 4th, 2011 in the Tico Times
San Jose, Costa Rica. >>click here to view the original article

One recycling organization reported that they collected more than 1,700 kilograms of beach trash on a beach in Puntarenas during a clean up in late February.
Ocean currents carry junk onto the beaches of Central America, Francesco Pistilli 

SAN JUAN DE NICARAGUA – In a corner of the world where many consumer products have yet to arrive, local villagers need only to walk to the beach to see what they are missing.

On the black-sand Caribbean beaches in southeast Nicaragua, just north of the mouth of the Río San Juan, kilometers of plastic shampoo bottles, car parts, sandals, plastic dolls, empty liquor bottles and shards of scattered plastic have come to rest above the shoreline.

No one sunbathes here – there’s too much trash.

The beaches of San Juan de Nicaragua line the eastern border of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, some 4,500 kilometers of largely untouched jungles, rivers and lagoons. While about 2,000 residents live in the village of San Juan de Nicaragua and a small group of Rama Indians live a few hours north, along the Río Indio, they are not the polluters. Ocean currents bring trash here from all over the Caribbean.

“There is trash on these beaches for dozens of kilometers,” said Juan Luna, who lives in an elevated thatch-roof hut about 200 meters from the shore. “It makes me sad every time I go to the beach, so I almost never go. People throw away bottles, sandals, batteries, and all their plastic junk and never think about where it ends up. Maybe if they saw these beaches they would.”

The beaches of San Juan de Nicaragua are one example of the world’s ever-increasing trash problem. Discarded non-biodegradable items are pooled together in ocean currents and regurgitated back on shore. On Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, an annual arts festival known as “Chunches del mar,” or “Things of the sea,” held near Playa Grande in the Nicoya Peninsula, turns beach trash into art. The festival, which has been held 10 times outside of the beach town of Montezuma, brings artists together to pluck trash from a polluted beach with similar conditions to San Juan de Nicaragua, although significantly smaller in size.

“What we are seeing is that trash thrown into the ocean and rivers that empty into the ocean is either winding up on beaches or in a current that carries it elsewhere,” said Nydia Rodríguez, executive director of Terra Nostra, a Costa Rican recycling organization that collected over 1,700 kilograms of beach trash from Playa Guacalillo in the province of Puntarenas in late February.

“This is a problem throughout Latin America and particularly in Central America. There is a lack of education, and a lack of interest about how to properly dispose of trash. Many of the businesses that provide these packaged goods never explain to consumers how to dispose of these products and show little concern for what happens to them after being used. Unfortunately, most of beach trash isn’t even trash, it’s mostly recyclable,” Rodríguez said.

Rodríguez listed several other beaches in Costa Rica where beach trash is prevalent, including Playa Cocos, a beach on Isla San Lucas, and a beach on the Caribbean coast near the mouth of the Río Pacuare.
“The more you research beach trash, the more locations you will find,” Rodríguez said.

The Ubiquity of International Beach Trash
One infamous collection of ocean trash, which is yet to even arrive on beaches across the world, is known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, or Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Within the last five years, the massive trash vortex, which travels in a circular swirl in the northern Pacific between the U.S. and Japan and Russia, is thought to be double the size of the U.S. state of Texas.

After visiting the vortex in 2006, Greenpeace International wrote:

“The trash vortex is an area the size of Texas in the North Pacific in which an estimated six kilos of plastic for every kilo of natural plankton, along with other slow degrading garbage, swirls slowly around like a clock, choked with dead fish, marine mammals, and birds who get snared. Some plastics in the gyre will not break down in the lifetimes of the grandchildren of the people who threw them away.”

The trash island is thought to have nearly doubled in size in the last five years.

Two years ago, Doug Woodring founded an environmental organization called Project Kaisei, which lists one of its primary objectives as finding a way to reduce the immense vortex.

“Our main focus is marine debris in the north Pacific gyre, which is an area northeast of Hawaii and west of California, about four or five days by boat,” Woodring said. “It’s probably the most remote eco-system on the planet… When people haven’t gone there, they haven’t realized this problem that’s crept on us. The currents that flow clockwise in that part of the ocean basically capture anything that floats.”

Woodring and his organization are trying to gather much of the accumulated plastic to recycle it or use it for fuel. In 2009, Project Kaisei was recognized by the United Nations Environment Program as a “Climate Hero” organization, and by Google as a “Google Earth Hero” for its work with video blogging and creating a tracking system.

Despite the accolades, Woodring feels that only promoting international awareness of the problem will result in change.

“It is a big problem and gets people attention, and that can help motivate change faster,” Woodring said. “The problem is we don’t know the damage this has been causing to ecosystem and marine life. There is plenty of evidence that everything from whales to jellyfish and all things between consume this mistaking it for food.”
In 2009, the environmental organization The Ocean Conservancy calculated that 400,000 volunteers recovered 6.8 million pounds of coastal trash across the planet.

Taking Out the Trash for Tourism
Over the next few years, the Nicaraguan government and the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) plan to create a “Ruta de agua,” or “Water Route,” that begins in San Juan de Nicaragua and facilitates travel down the Río San Juan to Lake Managua. An airport in San Juan de Nicaragua, formerly known as Greytown, is being constructed to allow tourists to fly into what is a remote region.

And when the tourists come, it is likely they will want to see the beach.

“We are definitely going to have to create a plan to clean up the trash from the beaches [in San Juan de Nicaragua] and around the country,” said Lucy Valenti, president of the Nicaraguan National Tourism Chamber (Canatur). “It is a growing problem in Nicaragua and we have to organize to make sure that we are taking the appropriate steps to dispose of the trash. No tourists want to spend time on beaches filled with trash.”

Despite efforts by Nicaraguan government agencies to clean up beach trash, the problem extends far beyond this tiny strip of sand in an isolated corner of Central America. The problem seems to be that, as Rodríguez of Terra Nostra said, “When people can’t see it, they just don’t think about it.”

For a photo report on beach trash, see The Tico Times online at www.ticotimes.net.