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From late June to mid-July we surveyed osprey nests from Monmouth Beach south along the coast to Atlantic City. While conducting these surveys we collected trash found within and around 112 active osprey nests. The amount of trash is an eye opener to how much marine debris is out on the salt marsh and in our estuaries. We found all sorts of trash, most of it was plastic (bags, mylar balloons, ribbon, bottles) and a few other things like hats, a newspaper, a Croc, PVC pipe, and a crab trap.
Marine debris is a global problem affecting everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing and navigation to human health and safety; from the tiniest coral polyps to giant blue whales. Marine debris also comes in many forms, from a cigarette butt to a 4,000-pound derelict fishing net.
Ospreys collect most nesting material from within view of their nests. They use it as nesting material because it is plentiful and attractive to them. Often times ribbon, string, or monofilament entangles young and adults and can seriously injure or kill.
Marine debris is a problem we can solve together. Although marine debris is found worldwide, we can all help with the smallest actions to reduce the amount of debris found along our coastline. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and participate in local beach or stream cleanups. If we each do a little, together we can make a big difference.