During the 2006/07 austral summer the seventeenth 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 50 items weighing 7.6 kg were collected. The number of items found was greater than the total found during the previous season, although the total mass of the waste recovered had decreased (an increase of 85.2% and decrease of 68.8% since 2005/06 respectively). There was a rise in the number of plastic packaging bands (18) from the total recorded the previous season (9), this increase representing a continuation of the rise in packaging bands experienced over recent seasons. The likely source of these bands is fishing vessels, so these findings highlight the fact that packaging bands 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. Plastic waste was predominant, as in previous seasons, making up 80% of all items recorded, followed jointly by metal and wood, both at 10%. The results of this season's debris 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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