Marine debris is often the result of poorly managed waste. The amount of waste from U.S. consumers continues to rise, more than doubling between 1960 and 2013.
When consumer goods, often single-use disposables, are littered or improperly managed, this trash can find its way into rivers, streams and other waterways. These ultimately empty into our oceans, where the trash becomes marine debris. Plastics in the aquatic environment are of increasing concern because of their persistence and effect on the environment, wildlife and human health.
Learn more about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Trash-Free Waters program.
(Graphic source: Ocean Conservancy. Information source: U.S. EPA)