Cigarette butts. As part of the annual #DontTrashLISound summer campaign, the Long Island Sound Study creates a list of the top 10 litter items collected in both states by volunteers at LIS beaches. Since 2015, cigarette butts have been the top category on the list of trash collected.

Every fall, volunteers from all over the world, including in Long Island Sound, conduct coastal cleanups and report their findings to the Ocean Conservancy as part of the International Coastal Cleanup. The cleanups around Long Island Sound are coordinated by the American Littoral Society in New York and Save the Sound in Connecticut.

The Long Island Sound Study also compiles data on the amount of trash in pounds at these cleanups and the total trash collected/per mile for the Marine Debris Ecosystem Target. There is also a Marine Debris by Category supporting indicator, which includes cigarette butts as a category.

Cigarette and cigarette filter found on the beach at Sandy Point State Park, Maryland. NOAA photo
Cigarette and cigarette filter found on the beach at Sandy Point State Park, Maryland. NOAA photo

What is the most commonly found ocean litter? (

The average depth of Long Island Sound is a shallow 63 feet. If dropped into the Sound at this depth, the Statue of Liberty would still have 86 feet exposed above the water (not including the pedestal).

Why do we say that’s shallow? It’s shallow compared to the average depth of the Atlantic Ocean. It has an average depth, with its seas, of 10,925 feet (3,300 meters) and a maximum depth of 27,493 feet (8,380 meters) in the Puerto Rico Trench, north of the island of Puerto Rico. The Hudson Canyon, a submarine canyon, which runs from the Hudson River- New York/New Jersey Harbor to 400 nautical miles offshore, reaching depths of 3,500 meters (10,500 feet). Source: Marine Conservation Institute.

The depths of the Sound vary greatly by location. In the western Sound, with its smooth sandy seafloor, the depths can be well under 20 feet. In the central Sound, it’s around 65 feet, while the eastern Sound is deep, dipping to 350 feet at the Race with a bottom that is mostly rocky.

The height of the Statue of Liberty is 305′ 6″ from the foundation of the pedestal to the torch, but it is 151′ 11″ from the base to the torch. Source: Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation

The Sound Facts series is adapted from Sound Facts: Fun Facts About Long Island Sound, a Connecticut Sea Grant publication.

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