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Action needed to stem growing problem of marine debris

Marine debris is becoming a major problem, Virginia’s top environmental official said Tuesday during a meeting at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point.

David K. Paylor, director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, said during the conference at Watermen’s Hall that marine debris cleanups are helpful but cannot stem the problem alone.

What’s really needed to curtail debris is better citizen education, he said, alerting them not to place dumpsters near streams and realizing that tossing litter in parking lots can be washed down storm drains and out into the Chesapeake Bay.

Increased amounts of marine debris can harm wildlife, Paylor said, as turtles might ingest plastic and other marine life could be adversely affected by chewing on the plastic rings from six-packs of soda or beer.

This plastic debris will have “a huge impact” if not better contained, Paylor told more than 100 people registered for the second Virgini...

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