Monthly Archives April 2017

Wastewater Treatment Plants and Marine Debris

Posted Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:00

By: Matthew Coomer, Intern with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

You may not think about wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) very often, but you use them every day. In fact, they are essential to protecting our health and the environment; WWTPs change our sewage into clean water that can safely re-enter rivers and the ocean. These facilities are complex, but to simplify, they filter solid material out of wastewater, allow microorganisms to feed on the organic matter that’s left behind, and then kill any dangerous bacteria. Whenever you use water at home or in your community, you use your local WWTP. Unfortunately, while these treatment plants are very good at their job, they may also be point sources of a persistent type of marine debris— microplastics.

Don’t Forget to Get Involved This Earth Day!

Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:30

Earth Day is tomorrow and there is still plenty of time to figure out how you’d like to get involved and celebrate! There are many things we can all do in our everyday lives to help our planet and Earth Day is a great time to start those habits. Earth Day is also a good time to make the extra effort to get involved in a cleanup. You can get outside to enjoy the nice spring weather and have a good time with friends as you also work to pick up debris and clean our environment. Not sure where to find a cleanup near you? Check out this list of cleanups throughout the country! There have been some recent additions to the list, so take another look if you’ve seen it already.

Get Involved on Earth Day and Beyond!

Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:30

By: Amanda Laverty, Knauss Fellow with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Earth Day is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to get involved and support efforts working toward a clean environment and healthy planet. We want to remind ourselves to make these efforts throughout the year, so Earth Day is a great time to start. This year, let’s challenge ourselves as consumers to make better daily choices so that we can collectively lessen our impact on the planet! It only takes a few consistent choices to develop new sustainable and earth-friendly habits. Here are a few easy and effective ways you can choose to reduce your daily impact and make a world of difference:

  1. Bring a bag. Remember to bring reusable bags to the grocery store or for any other shopping activities to reduce consumption of disposable bags.

Derelict Fishing Gear in the Pacific Northwest

Posted Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:30

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

To most residents and visitors in the Pacific Northwest, marine debris is what they see on the beautiful beaches of Oregon and Washington: items such as plastic consumer debris, commercial packaging, and even balloons. Luckily, agencies and NGOs including CoastSaversGrassroots Garbage Gang,  Oregon SOLVE, and the Oregon Marine Debris Team have collaborated together and with the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) for years to prevent and remove this debris, much of it arriving from around the Pacific to the sparsely-populated Pacific Northwest coast. Another form of marine debris, derelict fishing gear, is less visible, but still harmful to the environment, commerce, and navigation. Derelict crab pots, shrimp traps, and lost nets and lines can entangle marine wildlife, harm the sea floor upon which they rest, pose a risk to navigation, and even threaten human safety.

Addressing Marine Debris in the Pacific Northwest: Harnessing the Power of Art

Posted Tue, 04/11/2017 - 11:30

Like the rest of the country, the Pacific Northwest is unfortunately not immune to the impacts of marine debris. Luckily, there are many efforts in this region to address the marine debris issue, one of which focuses on the power of art.

Washed Ashore, an organization based in Oregon, works to prevent marine debris by raising awareness through art. After collecting debris on beaches and then cleaning and sorting it by color, the Washed Ashore group creates large and intricate sculptures made exclusively of marine debris. By building and displaying these sculptures, which mostly feature animals impacted by debris, this project aims to reach a broad audience to raise awareness of our connection to the debris issue and to inspire changes in our habits as consumers. Many of these sculptures now travel around the country as part of traveling exhibits, reaching broad audiences throughout the nation.

Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan Released krista.e.stegemann Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:00

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

Over the years, Oregon’s agencies, NGOs, and industry have done remarkable work to prevent and remove marine debris along the Oregon coast, rivers, and nearshore areas. In order to address marine debris in Oregon even more effectively, Oregon marine debris stakeholders got together to create the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan, and within a year, completed it.

The Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan, a collaborative effort of federal and state agencies, tribes, local governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry, is a compilation of recommended strategies and actions to prevent, research, and remove marine debris in Oregon. Bringing together the Oregon entities working on marine debris, the Plan will increase coordination and collaboration in executing on-going and future actions, and help track progress over time.

Join a Cleanup this Earth Day

Posted Thu, 04/06/2017 - 10:30

It’s April and that means that Earth Day is right around the corner! This year, Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22nd, and it’s a great 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! Here are a few to get you started.

Don’t see a cleanup close to you? Keep an eye on our blog and website for updates closer to Earth Day or start one yourself—gather some friends, grab some gloves and bags, and clean up your area (please remember, safety first)!

April Showers Bring… Marine Debris

Posted Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:30

You’re likely familiar with the phrase “April showers bring May flowers.” April is often associated with rainy and wet weather, but unfortunately it doesn’t just bring flowers, it also brings 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. Some of this trash may have even been trapped within the snow for months before being swept away with melting runoff.

So what do we do about this springtime debris? We can work to pick up this trash before April showers have a chance to wash it into our nearby waters! If you haven’t already, subscribe to our e-newsletter, which lists cleanup events happening around the country each month.