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GDN Reader's View: Sea of waste

Michael Pacione

AS a professional geographer and recreational scuba diver, I have experience of the ubiquitous presence of plastic waste.

On a recent diving trip to the Red Sea, having been obliged to swim around floating plastic bags, I conducted a field survey of a 100-metre stretch of Red Sea beach. Along the wrack line, I found 42 plastic drinking straws, 37 plastic cups, 49 plastic drinks bottles, 147 plastic bottle tops, one (empty) plastic container of motor oil, one tube of sealant, one piece of plastic hosepipe, one plastic sandal, 21 plastic carrier bags, one sheet of polystyrene, seven plastic disposable cigarette lighters (plus cigarette butts), one (empty) toothpaste tube, two toothbrushes, 12 food trays, 17 pieces of plastic cutlery, 21 confectionery packets, six plastic toys, including one boat, two bottles of sun cream, 12 pieces of foam rubber, seven pieces of rope, three pieces of netting, plus other “anthropogenic marine debris” such as wood with nails, and a variety of fruit and vegetables.

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