Study finds Texas coast has more plastic trash than other Gulf states

A new study cataloged the marine debris found on Gulf Coast state shores, determining the types of waste that had washed onto the beaches, as well as the quantities found in different states. According to the findings, plastic comprised the overwhelming majority of the trash, in some cases as much as 95-percent, including items like straws and plastic bottles.

The research comes from the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine and Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Researchers spent two years monitoring the marine debris that washed up on Gulf state shores, cataloging the types of waste as well as the frequency with which it appeared and where it was found.

A total of 12 different sites were monitored during this period at nine different islands spanning from Florida's Santa Rosa to Texas' North Padre Island. The monitoring lasted from February 2015 until August 2017.

It's no surprise that the majority of marine debris was plastic items, including broken pieces of plastic and common plastic items like straws, bottles, and bottle caps. Greater quantities of trash were found in the spring and summer seasons; plastic composed between 69- and 95-percent of it.

The increased coastal waste likely resulted from a larger number of people being outdoors in the warmer seasons. The researchers were surprised by one finding, though: Texas experienced 10 times the amount of marine trash on its coasts than all over Gulf states.