The President Signs a National Microbead Ban

Posted Wed, 12/30/2015 - 14:04

On Monday, December 28th, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 into law. This new law bans plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products, requiring companies to stop manufacturing products that contain them. Microbeads are tiny plastic beads that have commonly been added as abrasives to health and beauty products such as exfoliating face washes and toothpastes, and are designed to wash down the drain. Congress’ swift passage of this legislation is reflective of a growing movement to ban microbeads at the state level– in 2015 alone, 47 bills to ban microbeads were introduced in 25 state legislatures and nine were signed into law.

Scuba Dogs Society Recycles and Removes Debris in Puerto Rico

Posted Thu, 12/03/2015 - 11:59

Scuba Dogs Society is gearing up to make a big difference in the fight against marine debris in Puerto Rico. With support from a newly-awarded NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, this non-profit organization in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will work to remove marine debris from an ecologically important area in the San Juan Bay Estuary. They anticipate removing 10 metric tons of debris from 500 acres of habitat over 12 to 18 cleanups! Their efforts will also focus on the outfall of the Rio Grande de Loiza, a site where there is both an accumulation of debris washed in from upriver, as well as mid- to large-scale debris like home appliances and car parts that are purposefully dumped there. Scuba Dogs Society expects 600 volunteers will contribute 2,400 hours of time to these removal efforts.

Clean Bays Works Toward Urban Renewal in Providence

Posted Mon, 11/23/2015 - 11:55

Supported by a newly-awarded Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Clean Bays is working to remove industrial debris from 18 miles of East Providence shoreline, as well as from the navigable waters of Providence Harbor. With plenty of debris left over from its use as an industrial port and from the intentional dumping of discarded items, this area has become not only an eye-sore, but a threat to navigation and the surrounding environment. To restore this 18-mile stretch that encompasses approximately 350 acres of habitat, Clean Bays will remove 165 tons of debris!

Cooperative Efforts Result in the Removal of Abandoned Vessels and Other Debris from the Historic Charleston Harbor

Posted Fri, 11/13/2015 - 13:06

By: Sarah Latshaw, Southeast Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Charleston Harbor just got a facelift, with 10 abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) removed from its waterways and shoreline earlier this month. After being abandoned by their owners, many of these boats had been stuck for years, slowly deteriorating in the marsh, because of a lack of funding for removal and salvage efforts. Some of these ADVs were environmental concerns, causing damage to the shoreline and grasses or becoming dumping sites for other boaters’ trash; others posed a threat to navigation, and most were eyesores for this charming, historic city.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program Launches the New ADV InfoHub!

Posted Thu, 11/12/2015 - 15:02

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce the launch of our new ADV InfoHub, to serve as a center for information on abandoned and derelict vessels, or “ADVs.”

ADVs are a type of marine debris that threatens the environment, navigation, and economies. They can be found in ports and waterways all over the country and come from a variety of sources including storms and owner neglect. Unfortunately, they are also a type of marine debris that can be very difficult and expensive to remove. The removal of an ADV often requires extensive financial and technical resources. Additionally, the legislation surrounding the removal of ADVs can be a tricky topic to navigate because it is different for every state.

That’s where the new ADV InfoHub comes in. This new resource provides a central source of information regarding ADVs and the policies surrounding them. 

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Three Years Since Sandy

Posted Thu, 10/29/2015 - 11:23

By: Keith Cialino, New England Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Today marks the third anniversary of Sandy’s landfall in the mid-Atlantic. Hurricane Sandy resulted in severe damage to many communities, leaving a swath of destruction and large amounts of debris in coastal waters and marshes.

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 provided NOAA with supplemental funding to support the removal of debris generated by Sandy that was not removed immediately after the storm. NOAA developed formal agreements with the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, as well as New York City, for debris removals. In addition, we provided support to the state of Delaware for the detection of storm-related debris in coastal areas. Many of the debris removal projects are ongoing, and to date have resulted in the removal of approximately 375 metric tons of debris from sensitive coastal habitats, including marshes, wetlands and tidal creeks. 

Blue Fox Bay Lodge Marine Debris Cleanups

Posted Fri, 10/16/2015 - 16:47

By: Colleen Rankin, Guest Blogger and Resident of Blue Fox Bay

In 2012, through the outreach efforts of the Marine Conservation Alliance (now administered by the Sitka Sound Science Center), we were selected to receive a grant to remove marine debris from the remote beaches in this area. During the next three years, our efforts continued with the support of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, a private grant, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, with funding provided by the Japanese government to clean up tsunami-related debris. Along with a few volunteers, we have removed over 32,000 pounds of varying debris.

“Washed Ashore” Art and Education sally.gruger Mon, 09/28/2015 - 12:46

 By: Nir Barnea, Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

The first thing you see as you approach the Washed Ashore gallery in Bandon, Oregon, is a creation of plastic pieces and nets: Henry the Fish. When you enter the gallery and look up, an ocean gyre is above you. It is made of a bluish fishing net, and plastic pieces of different shapes and colors “float” within it. A whale bone structure made of white plastic containers is in the center. Although they are colorful, nothing is painted: there is plenty of marine debris in all shapes and colors available to give the sculptures any color in the rainbow, highlighting the message that marine debris is a prevalent problem we must address.