An American research scientist working in the Marshall Islands to help improve its solid waste management says the country's all-important reefs are at risk because of the inadequate containment of trash.
Dr Thomas Pfleeger is assisting the Marshall Island Conservation Society with a solid waste management project funded by a grant to the Society from the US Embassy.
The grant is being used to to alter the function of the capital Majuro's main land fill by initiating an extensive recycling program.
Dr Pfleeger says the daunting waste problems facing Majuro Atoll stem mainly from the open landfill which is vulnerable to storms that blow it apart, washing the garbage across the reefs, the country's most important resource.
"So when the trash gets out and leaks out and adds nutrients, causes algal growth which is not healthy for the reefs, solid waste lands on reefs and the corals and basically suffocates them. So nothing good is coming out of this."
Dr Thomas Pfleeger