Microplastic Pollution: A complex mixture of diverse polymers, shapes and sizes

Posted Thu, 01/25/2018 - 11:00

By: Chelsea M. Rochman, Guest Blogger and Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto

The microplastics literature is growing at a tremendous rate. Every day, new studies are published about their sources, fate, and effects. There is no longer any doubt that microplastics of all shapes, sizes, and types contaminate diverse ocean habitats and animals. We also understand much more about the effects of microplastics on organisms than we did just a few years ago. Still, there are research gaps to fill. As part of a project funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, we set out to answer questions related to these research gaps. We examined whether environmentally-relevant concentrations of different types of microplastics directly affect freshwater prey and indirectly affect their predators. Check out the results which were just published.

Clean Up Your Community for Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day!

Posted Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:00

Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and let’s remember that it’s not just a day off from work and school, but a day to think about what it means for our country. To commemorate a great man who spent his life serving others, this day has become a time to come together to give back to our communities and volunteer our time to a good cause. If you’d like to participate in MLK Day of Service, consider joining a cleanup in your area. Cleaning up your local shoreline or even just your neighborhood can help prevent trash from becoming marine debris and can help to create a healthy ocean that we can all enjoy.

New Year, New Goals, Less Waste

Posted Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:00

By: Amanda Laverty, Sea Grant Knauss Fellow for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Happy New Year! Did you make any goals or resolutions for the upcoming year? Here at the Marine Debris Program, we are striving to reduce the amount of waste we produce annually. The EPA estimates that, on average, Americans generate 4.40 pounds of waste per person per day. Now that is a lot of trash and unfortunately, much of it becomes marine debris. The good news is that because we are the problem, we can be the solution too! By committing ourselves to one or more of the goals below, we can help move in the direction of a cleaner and healthier world. If we strive to reduce our individual impacts, we can make a huge difference together! Here are a few simple ways to get started.

Happy New Year from the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Posted Fri, 12/29/2017 - 11:00

As another year comes to a close, we like to take this time to look back on 2017 and look forward to the year ahead. This year, the NOAA Marine Debris Program saw over 18,300 students involved in marine debris education and outreach and more than 1,600 metric tons of debris removed from our shores! Check out our 2017 Accomplishments Report for more on what we’ve achieved this past year. Looking to 2018, we’re excited for the year ahead and we hope you are too! We resolve to continue our fight against marine debris in several ways. What are your resolutions? There are many efforts we can all resolve to make to get our ocean off to a good start in 2018.

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We Wish You a Happy, Debris-Free Holiday!

Posted Thu, 12/21/2017 - 12:00

By: Amanda Laverty, Sea Grant Knauss Fellow for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

The ocean remains one of the most expansive and diverse places on Earth. Sadly, marine debris continues to threaten this sensitive ecosystem, with a lack of waste management infrastructure around the world and expanding populations heightening the problem. Here at the NOAA Marine Debris Program, we are showing our love for the ocean this holiday season by celebrating with less waste and more marine debris prevention! We hope you will join us by considering how you might apply some of these ideas and tips to reduce your holiday footprint this year.

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How Reducing Litter Can Help Save Coral Reefs krista.e.stegemann Tue, 12/05/2017 - 11:00

Coral reefs are diverse and important marine ecosystems, supporting a wide array of wildlife. Not only do they provide essential structure for habitats, but corals themselves are a unique and beautiful type of animal. Unfortunately, corals don’t have it easy. These animals are very sensitive to changes in their environment and are under threat by a preventable problem: marine debris. Thankfully, this is a completely preventable problem and we can all help to reduce these impacts!

Charleston County Library System Turns the Page on Marine Debris

Posted Thu, 11/30/2017 - 11:00

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

Plastic bags are pervasive in marine environments and are one of the most common items found during litter cleanup events. They are often blown or washed into waterways, and can be entanglement or ingestion hazards to wildlife, smother vegetation, and clog storm drains. In an effort to reduce their contribution to marine debris in coastal South Carolina, the Charleston County Public Library (CCPL), with support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), and South Carolina Aquarium, has ended their use and distribution of single-use plastic bags at all 16 branch locations!

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Give Thanks and Give Back to Our Ocean

Posted Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:00

It’s almost Thanksgiving and here the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), we’re thinking about what we’re most thankful for this year.

At the MDP, we’re thankful for the wonderful partners that we work with to help spread the message, clean up, and learn more about the issue of marine debris. We’re also thankful for all the people out there that are thinking about marine debris and how they can help. Each person that thinks “you know, maybe I’ll use a reusable bag at the grocery store today”—we’re thankful for you and your efforts to reduce extra waste that could find its way to the ocean!

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