Defining Aquatic Litter and Debris

Aquatic litter and debris are any manufactured or processed solid waste that enters the aquatic environment from any source. In short, it is our misplaced waste and trash. It is a highly pervasive and visible form of pollution that has harmful impacts on wildlife and human health.

Aquatic ecosystems—streams, rivers, wetlands, and estuaries—are under considerable pressure from human activities, including incorrect disposal of trash. While the world's oceans are vast, they do not have an infinite ability to safely absorb our wastes. Preserving and restoring the quality of freshwater and marine environments requires that we understand how much trash we create, what we do with that trash, and how we can prevent it from entering our waterways.

About Litter and Debris:

  Litter and Debris in our Waterways - Impacts, Sources and Solutions Page   What Volunteers Found in Virginia's Waterways--Data from past International Coastal Cleanups
  Litter Prevention Page   How Data from the ICC are used
  Impacts of aquatic debris   The International Coastal Cleanup in Virginia
  Article about Aquatic Litter and Debris (written by CVW for school teachers and others)   Solutions
  Cigarette Butt Litter—A Special Problem   Balloons as litter—A Special Problem

Go to "Litter Prevention" Page

Return to the "Litter and Debris in our Waterways—Impacts and Data" Page

Compiled by Clean Virginia Waterways, Longwood University, Farmville, VA 23909
434-395-2602 Fax: 434-395-2825 Email: cleanva@longwood.edu