The Fourth of July is coming up next week and if you’re lucky, you’ll be celebrating for the long weekend. As you enjoy the holiday and the summer weather, make sure that you’re thinking not only of our country, but also of our environment and what you can do to keep your celebration debris-free. Take some of these tips into consideration when planning your festivities and have a fun, safe, and clean Fourth of July weekend!
By: Dr. Stefanie Whitmire, Guest Blogger and Research Scientist at the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science, Clemson University
Microplastics are plastic pieces measuring less than five millimeters in size and in recent decades, there have been many studies that indicate a strong presence of this type of debris in marine and coastal environments. Microplastics can come from a variety of sources. Some microplastics are manufactured at that small size as microbeads, found in products like toothpaste and facial scrubs, or pellets, which are used to make larger plastic items. Microfibers, another type of microplastic debris, come from synthetic items such as rope or clothing (like fleece). Microplastics also come from the breakdown of larger plastic pieces, such as water bottles and fishing line. To investigate the number and distribution of microplastics on National Park beaches across the Unites States, researchers at Clemson University collaborated with the National Park Service to collect and analyze sand from 37 coastal National Parks.
Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) are a marine debris problem in many places around the United States, and pose a particular problem in Florida and the Caribbean. In this region, which boasts both beautiful weather and waters, a high number of recreational and commercial boaters unfortunately equals a high number of ADVs. These large marine debris items range in size from small recreational vessels to large steel-hulled commercial ships, but the majority of the ADVs in the region are from recreational use. These vessels may be abandoned or become derelict at the end of their useful life, after damage from storms, or when boat owners cannot keep up with their maintenance due to time and economic constraints. Unfortunately, the removal of debris items like ADVs is extremely costly and logistically difficult, so many ADVs remain where they are and these vessels can lead to all sorts of problems.
Meet Charles Grisafi, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Florida and Caribbean Regional Coordinator! Reach out to Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Florida and the Caribbean are full of palm trees, beautiful beaches, and clear waters. Unfortunately, like many coastal areas around the world, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s newest region is also plagued with marine debris. Luckily, there are several efforts currently underway to address this problem. Check out two newly-established projects in the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Florida & the Caribbean Region and visit our website for more.
What do dad jokes and marine debris have in common? We’re hoping not to see too much of either this Father’s Day! But, while we might have to deal with a few dad jokes, we shouldn’t have to deal with marine debris. So let’s work to celebrate Dad without contributing to this extremely preventable problem. While you’re celebrating the father in your life, make sure you’re keeping our environment in mind too. Staying at home to enjoy the backyard and a barbecue? Skip the disposable utensils, cups, and plates and use the real stuff. Make sure any trash you do produce gets disposed of properly and recycled if possible.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce the release of the new Marine Debris Emergency Response document for Georgia! This guide takes existing roles and authorities, as they relate to response to an incident that generates large amounts of debris in coastal waterways, and presents them in one guidance document for easy reference. By collaborating with local, state, and federal entities active in the region, this guide aims to facilitate a more timely and effective response to waterway debris incidents in Georgia.
This week marks the 2017 Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), during which lots of ocean-themed discussions are happening around Washington, DC. Last year, our very own Chief Scientist Amy Uhrin and Katie Register with Clean Virginia Waterways spoke about marine debris on the 2016 OceansLIVE!, a live-streaming web-based platform just for CHOW. Check out the video recording of their conversation about what marine debris is, where it comes from, and what we can do about it. Conversations like these are so important to remind us that we can all make a difference when it comes to marine debris.
This past Saturday was National Get Outdoors Day— did you participate? It’s getting to be that time of year when the weather is beautiful and being outside is awesome. Unfortunately, when you’re enjoying the outdoors, you’re likely to run into something that is way too common: marine debris. Sadly, marine debris is a global problem that originates from a variety of sources. That empty chip bag that you see on your street? That can easily find its way to our waters and become marine debris.
Happy World Ocean Day to everyone that lives on this big, blue planet! Each year, we celebrate this day by honoring our global ocean and all that it does for us. From the food we eat to the air we breathe, we are all connected to the ocean. This year’s theme, “our oceans, our future,” reminds us how we are always connected with the marine environment. Unfortunately, the ocean faces many threats, one of which is marine debris. Huge amounts of marine debris enter our ocean every day, jeopardizing its future health and making marine debris one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the ocean today.
One year ago today, the NOAA Marine Debris Program announced the launch of the “Get Started Toolbox” for our Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP)! Since then, the Toolbox has been visited thousands of times for use as a resource by citizen science volunteers across the country. The Toolbox provides tutorials that cover the basics of the MDMAP, a collection of protocol documents and user guides, data analysis tools, a searchable photo gallery of marine debris items, answers to frequently asked questions, and even a quiz to test your MDMAP knowledge.