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Science Bulletins: Detecting Ocean Trash

When we litter on land or dump trash in waterways, it can easily blow or wash out into the ocean. At sea, boats discard and lose nets and other items into the water. This marine debris is a serious threat to ocean life. Creatures that mistake trash for food or become entangled in it can die. Detecting and removing marine debris is difficult and slow, as most of it is done by eye and by hand. But scientists are using remote sensing—satellites, gliders, and other instruments that analyze from afar—to learn where debris collects in the world's oceans and where it poses the most hazard to marine life.
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