50 Cleanups and Counting: A Celebration of Community Dedication krista.e.stegemann Thu, 05/17/2018 - 11:00

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

On April 21, 2018, Earth Day was celebrated with beach cleanups in many places, but for the Grassroots Garbage Gang in Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula, it was an especially important day— a celebration of the 50th Grassroots Garbage Gang community-organized beach cleanup, representing a remarkable achievement. Beach cleanups on the Long Beach Peninsula began in 1971, when the Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association, along with support by state agencies and local organizations, started their Shore Patrol and marine debris removal. Around the year 2000, community volunteers formed the Grassroots Garbage Gang and joined the effort to clean up the beautiful Long Beach Peninsula beaches. Organizing three cleanups a year— in January, April (Earth Day), and July 5th– the dedicated volunteers of the Grassroots Garbage Gang have removed hundreds of tons of marine debris over the years. In addition, the group has reached out to the community and visitors with a strong message to prevent marine debris and help reduce it.

The First Ever Large-Scale Mangrove Cleanup in the U.S. Virgin Islands Nets Thousands of Pounds of Debris krista.e.stegemann Tue, 05/15/2018 - 11:00

By: Kristin Wilson Grimes, Ph.D., Guest Blogger and Research Assistant Professor of Watershed Ecology at the University of the Virgin Islands; and Elisa Bryan-Lacatena, Guest Blogger and Communications Specialist at the Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

On April 21, 2018, a group of 126 volunteers removed more than 3,000 pounds of marine debris in the “Great Mangrove Cleanup,” the first large-scale community cleanup in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER), a marine protected area on the east end of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). These mangrove shorelines are difficult to get to, which makes them especially difficult to clean, and after the twin Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the territory last September, these coastlines are chock-full of marine debris. The vast majority of debris we gathered came from land-based sources (90-95% of items) and most of the items were plastic (65-70%). These patterns are consistent with those observed globally. The single item we collected the most of were plastic beverage bottles– 1,765 of them! For such a small area of coastline, that’s a lot, and it tells us that if we want to reduce marine debris in the USVI, we should be thinking about what we are drinking out of, where we are disposing of it, and where it might end up.

This Mother’s Day, Show Mother Earth Some Love

Posted Fri, 05/11/2018 - 11:00

Mother’s Day is almost here and is a great opportunity to celebrate one of the important mothers in all of our lives: Mother Earth. Take some time this weekend to celebrate all that Mother Earth has given us and show her some love. All mothers love a do-it-yourself or hand-made gift, so take some small actions to show her you care. Follow the 4Rs and refuse a straw in your drink when you go out for Mother’s Day brunch; reduce your use of single-use items by bringing your own bag to the grocery store when you’re shopping for ingredients to make mom breakfast in bed; treat your mom to a coffee in a reusable mug; and recycle (or better yet, upcycle or reuse!) the cardboard coupons your mom turns in for ‘one free hug.’

Tags

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season? Be Safe, Plan Ahead, and Secure Possible Debris Items!

Posted Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:00

Although many are still recovering from last year’s hurricane season, it’s already time to start prepping for 2018’s potential storms. This week, NOAA is observing Hurricane Preparedness Week, to help people around the country prepare for any serious weather that might come through. If you live in an area potentially impacted by hurricanes, make sure to check out the National Weather Service’s website for lots of information on hurricane preparedness and how to keep you, your family, and your property safe. Unfortunately, strong winds, rains, and storm surge can not only be dangerous and damaging, but can also lead to a substantial increase in marine debris. When you’re prepping for an incoming storm, keep this in mind and take some simple steps to secure your belongings and decrease the risk of adding to storm-related marine debris.

Tags

5 Tools to Keep in Your Picnic Basket

Posted Thu, 04/26/2018 - 12:00

Believe it or not (we certainly can’t), it’s already the end of April! With that has come Earth Day last weekend, National Picnic Day just earlier this week, and (hopefully) loads of nicer weather. So, as we march into May, let’s keep the lessons we’ve learned from these recent holidays in mind—enjoy the outdoors responsibly and care for our planet! How do we put that into practice? Well, here are some tools to keep in your picnic basket for the next time you’re enjoying the spring weather in the great outdoors.

Tags

Celebrate Earth Day by Joining a Cleanup!

Posted Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:00

Earth Day is right around the corner! This year, it falls on this coming Sunday, April 22nd. Celebrate by taking the opportunity to join in the fight against marine debris and prevent trash from entering our ocean, waterways, and Great Lakes. There are lots of cleanup events happening on and around Earth Day; make sure you’re prepared by knowing what cleanups are happening in your area. We’ve put together a list of cleanups happening throughout the country to get you started. Don’t see a cleanup close to you? Start one yourself! Gather some friends, clean up your local community (please remember, safety first), and use the Marine Debris Tracker App to record what you find!

Congratulations to Our 2018 Art Contest Winners!

Posted Wed, 04/18/2018 - 12:30

It’s that time of year—time to announce the winners of the NOAA Marine Debris Program Annual Art Contest! We had hundreds of impressive entries this year and although we wish we could showcase them all, we are excited to share this year’s winners with you. The NOAA Marine Debris Program holds this annual art contest to reach K-8 students and help raise awareness about marine debris, one of the most significant problems our ocean faces today. The resulting calendar, featuring the winning artwork, will help to remind us every day how important it is for us to be responsible stewards of the ocean. This year’s winners will be featured in our 2019 calendar, available later this year.

April Showers Bring Both Flowers and Debris

Posted Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:00

Spring has officially begun and while most of us are looking forward to April’s showers bringing those promised May flowers, we often forget that this melty and rainy spring weather often brings something much less pleasant as well— marine debris. With rains and melting snow and ice, trash that has found its way to our streets, storm drains, shorelines, etc. is flushed out into our ocean, Great Lakes, and waterways. In some areas, some of this trash may have been trapped within the snow for months before being swept away with melting runoff.

Tags