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.

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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.

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Abandoned and Derelict Vessels

Posted Fri, 03/30/2018 - 11:00

By: Amanda Laverty, Communications Specialist for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

We’re spending March talking all about marine debris and its types, sources, impacts, and solutions. Tune in throughout the month to learn more about this important topic and how we can all be part of the effort to make our lives and our ocean #DebrisFree.

Though the legal definition of an “Abandoned and Derelict Vessel” varies, an “ADV” is generally considered to be any vessel in significant disrepair that may pose a threat to the public or the environment. “Derelict” frequently refers to vessels that are dilapidated with an identifiable owner, while “abandoned” vessels are those where the owner is unknown or has surrendered rights of ownership. Vessels can become abandoned and derelict for many reasons, ranging from neglect to theft, to catastrophic weather. 

Microplastics & Megafauna

Posted Tue, 03/27/2018 - 11:00

By: Demi Fox, Northeast Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

We’re spending March talking all about marine debris and its types, sources, impacts, and solutions. Tune in throughout the month to learn more about this important topic and how we can all be part of the effort to make our lives and our ocean #DebrisFree.

Marine debris is a serious threat to marine animals. While large pieces of litter can have dramatic impacts on marine animals, less obvious are the dangers of plastics measuring less than five millimeters in size, known as “microplastics.” These small pieces of debris have quickly become a high research priority for scientists around the world. Microplastics enter the marine environment from a variety of sources: microbeads in cosmetics, microfibers washed from our clothing, and plastic fragments degraded by the sun, among many others. The threats they pose depend on their quantity, chemical composition, location in the ocean and the water column, and availability for ingestion. Despite its small size, microplastic debris is affecting some of the planet’s largest animals.

Garbage Patches Explained

Posted Wed, 03/21/2018 - 11:00

By: Amanda Laverty, Communications Specialist with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

We’re spending March talking all about marine debris and its types, sources, impacts, and solutions. Tune in throughout the month to learn more about this important topic and how we can all be part of the effort to make our lives and our ocean #DebrisFree.

Garbage patches are areas of increased concentration of marine debris that are formed from rotating ocean currents called gyres. The most publicized garbage patch is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre in the northern Pacific Ocean. However, there are actually several garbage patches located in gyres around the world! Check out answers to other frequently asked garbage patch questions.

Less Waste, More Action

Posted Thu, 03/15/2018 - 11:00

By: Amanda Laverty, Communications Specialist with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

We’re spending March talking all about marine debris and its types, sources, impacts, and solutions. Tune in throughout the month to learn more about this important topic and how we can all be part of the effort to make our lives and our ocean #DebrisFree.

Here at the NOAA 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! Unfortunately, much of that trash becomes marine debris. The good news is that because we are the problem, we can be the solution too! In fact, 700+ leading marine debris experts from around the world are meeting this week in San Diego, CA, at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference to discuss the state of marine debris science and the path forward. The purpose of this event is to expose innovation, expand collaboration, and fuel action— and to do it while producing as little waste as possible.