News/Reports

Plastic Rope Fragments on Shorelines

Posted November 23, 2014 | Categories : Mammal entanglement,Marine Reserves |
Plastic rope debris on Taylor beach

Plastic rope debris on Taylor beach

On a few afternoons in mid November, the fragments of plastic rope in the picture were picked up on Taylor beach. There had been several days with winds from the East, so that typically brings in extra debris. Note that the white packing band in the right hand lower corner is the kind used for packaging nets. These rings end up as neck rings on marine mammals, which can eventually lead to death. For graphic examples see the references on entanglement on the Race Rocks website:
The internet abounds with problems associated with plastics in marine pollution. Rope in particular can pose some unusual hazards. As is generally known, it does not decompose and therefore floats around for many years in the ocean and on beaches. But less frequently understood are the following:
1. It  can end up absorbing other toxic materials, and when ingested by marine animals, it can lead to their poisoning.

2. Some sea turtles will injest the rope. This can severely affect their survival.

3. It breaks up into fine particles, which can become clogged in the gills of fish.

4. Entanglement of marine mammals with longer pieces is often a hazard.

Below are a few recommendations form one source:

Cleaning up existing ocean plastic pollution is not practical. But preventing and controlling the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans is possible if we work together to:

  • Reduce or eliminate your use of petroleum-based plastic products
  • Choose and purchase bio-based or certified compostable plastics — over petroleum-based plastic products
  • Patronize businesses that offer bio-based plastics — and request businesses that don’t to make the change
  • Recycle any and all plastic products you must use