Plastic, designed to be lightweight with resistant properties, can travel on currents for thousands of miles and will persist or slowly degrade in the oceans. Consequently, plastic has become widely dispersed across the oceans including the remote Southern Ocean and South Atlantic islands. Beach surveys completed at the Falklands show the vast majority of items washed on to our shorelines are manufactured from plastic (94.3 %) and plastic bottles were the most numerous items.
Marine debris is accumulated junk, broken fishing gear, and increasingly plastic waste that is discarded into our oceans. It can be accidentally or deliberately released from boats, blown form landfills or urban sites, and even carried from our homes in the case of micro-plastics and microfibers.
Marine debris surveys are widely used to monitor and compare quantities throughout regions of the world. The frame work at the Falklands is based on the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) guidelines. This provides standardisation for monitoring programmes so comparative studies, at both national and international scales, are possible.
Here’s how you can help:
We need your help to collect information. Through beach surveys across the Falklands we will start to understand where debris on our beaches comes from, how much there is, and what the main sources, quantities and impacts are.
Ultimately, marine debris will not just vanish, it will either end up washed onto coasts, or break down in the marine environment and into marine organism food chains. It also presents a risk to wildlife through entanglement or accidental ingestion.
Survey 100 metre stretch of coastline
Name the beach and take a GPS start position or alternatively mark on a map
Walk 100m along the beach
Record the number and type of all the marine debris items you encounter by filling out our Marine Debris Survey Form
Record the end point of the survey with a GPS position or alternatively mark on a map
Send your completed surveys to Falklands Conservation
To download the Interim Report on Marine Debris, Marine Debris Guidelines, or our Marine Debris Survey form, go to our downloads page.