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Introduction

  • Michael Stachowitsch
Chapter

Abstract

We are used to being surrounded by trash and may even have heard of the garbage piles left by Himalayan expeditions or of space debris. But we are personally irked when confronted with the stuff while on vacation on the shores and waterways we somehow perceive as being pristine. You may call it trash, rubbish, litter, garbage, refuse, junk, or flotsam and jetsam, but specialists refer to it as marine debris or beach litter. Beyond the esthetics, it poses a serious threat to wildlife, a menace to fisheries and boating, a health hazard to humans, a scourge for sustainable tourism, and an economic threat to coastal communities. Fortunately, this is one type of pollution that we as individuals can actually do something about. Learn the 6 “R”s and the important “U” (upscaling), and become part of the solution both as a consumer and as a guest on the beach. The first step is recognizing beaches as living environments worthy of protection. Become a beach detective, and learn to identify and understand glass, plastic, metal, wood, paper, and oil, along with other products and materials in their unending variations, combinations, and unsavory states of decomposition. Then get into action, have a little fun in the process, and be part of the solution in helping to preserve this wonderful barefoot environment.

Keywords

Beach litter Coastal cleanups Garbage Habitat degradation Hazardous materials Marine debris Marine pollution Recycling Solid waste Trash Upcycling Volunteers 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Stachowitsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Limnology and Bio-OceanographyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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