During the 2004/05 austral summer the fifteenth annual beach debris survey was carried out at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Debris was cleared each month between December and March from the three study beaches. The debris was counted, measured and classified by type, material, mass and size categories. A total of 38 items weighing 10.95kg were collected. The number of items found was higher than the total found during the previous season, though the total mass of the waste recovered had declined (an increase of 85.71% and decrease of 8.31% since 2003/04 respectively). There was an rise in the number of plastic packaging bands (12) from the total recorded the previous season (5), this increase resuming the rise in packaging bands experienced over the previous three seasons with the exception of 2003/2004 and marking a return to what has otherwise proved a declining trend since 1993/94. These findings highlight the fact that they continue to appear as beach debris and indicate that the ban on their use aboard fishing vessels brought into force by CCAMLR in 1995/96 has yet to prove entirely effective and should continue. Plastic waste was predominant, as in previous seasons, making up 71.01% of all items recorded, followed by wood at 13.16%. The results of this season's litter survey clearly show that the longevity of plastics and other materials with a high resistance to degradation in the marine environment remains a problem. The need for continued monitoring to ensure that vessels are aware of, and comply with, regulations prohibiting the disposal of debris at sea is paramount.
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