The 2016 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands marine debris removal mission came to a close last Friday, May 13, successfully hauling in 12 tons of debris from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. A marine debris team of 10 NOAA scientists was part of the removal effort that spanned 32 days cleaning Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary, Lisianski Island, and the French Frigate Shoals.
The annual removal mission, which began in 1996, has removed a total of 935 tons of marine debris to date including the 12 tons of marine debris from this year’s mission. The NOAA Marine Debris Program has supported this yearly effort since the program’s inception in 2006. As the program celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it also marks ten years of funding this removal effort in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. “This cross-agency effort to remove debris is a tremendous undertaking and it emphasizes the need to focus efforts on marine debris prevention to stop debris from showing up on these once pristine shorelines,” said Pacific Island Regional Coordinator Mark Manuel.
This year's mission successfully removed a lot of interesting debris items, some of which are listed in the graphic below and also including:
- 1468 beverage bottles
- 4457 bottle caps
- 1843 derelict fishing nets or net fragments
- 485 toothbrushes and other personal care products
- 570 shoes and flip-flop sandals
Take a closer look at this year’s mission from the beginning, halfway, and end points, and check out the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program’s interactive daily story map for a detailed look at this year’s effort.