Marine Debris & Invasive Species

Posted Thu, 03/01/2018 - 11:00

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 can have many negative effects on us and our environment. One potential impact of debris which is often overlooked is marine debris’ potential to assist in the spread of non-native, and potentially invasive, species. Non-native species, or animals that are not from a certain area or meant to be there, have the potential to become harmful and invasive. If that happens, these invasive animals can start using the local resources in an unsustainable way, or in a way that may negatively impact those animals that do belong.

On Valentine’s Day, Show Our Ocean Some Love

Posted Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:00

It’s Valentine’s Day, so take some time today to show our ocean some love. We get a lot from the ocean—food, travel, even clean air to breathe— so return the love by thinking about how you can help protect it from marine debris. Consider how you might contribute to the marine debris problem and think about changes you could make to help. Do you bring reusable bags to the grocery store? Do you drink out of a reusable bottle at work? Do you follow your municipality’s recycling regulations for items you can’t reuse? Following the 4R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse!) whenever you can makes a big difference for our ocean.

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Campaign for a “Litter-Free Mardi Gras”

Posted Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:00

By: Caitlin Wessel, Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Mardi Gras is a fun occasion for many cities across the South, from New Orleans to Alabama. Bead necklaces and other items like moon pies, cups, and cheap toys are a Mardi Gras staple and are thrown to excited crowds lining the streets during parades that begin six weeks before Fat Tuesday. Unfortunately, many of these items are abandoned on the street and can easily wash down street drains and end up in streams, rivers, and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. Learn how our partners are working to reduce the environmental impacts of Mardi Gras while keeping the Mardi Gras spirit alive and well!

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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