Any item can become marine debris once lost or discarded into the marine environment. Marine debris poses a range of threats to parks, including damage to coastal habitats and to animals from entanglement or ingestion, as well as ecological impacts from toxic contamination. Unsightly trash also detracts severely from the beauty of National Parks.

Beach cleanups held in parks during the annual International Coastal Cleanup and National Public Lands Day or throughout the year help to address the marine debris problem. Local agencies, schools, nongovernmental organizations, businesses and cooperating associations frequently sponsor cleanups. Thousands of volunteers remove many tons of debris from park shorelines each year.

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