My high school graduation was anything but joyful as I begged my peers not to release the balloons they held. I’m Laura Anthony, otherwise known as the overenthusiastic marine biology student telling people not to use plastic cups at parties. This summer, I was a NOAA Hollings Scholar in the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program assessing the impact of anthropogenic (human created) debris on deep-sea coral and sponge habitats.
Once a year, we like to take a moment to reflect on our Program’s mission to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris, and to celebrate the progress that has been made with national and international partners. This past year we’ve supported and elevated marine debris efforts through coordination on local, national, and international levels.
Did you know that the Marine Debris Tracker App recently logged 2 million pieces of litter and debris from all over the world? This app has been around since 2010 as a joint initiative between the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI).
It is estimated that every year, over 10,000 crab pots are lost in the Puget Sound. The lost pots trap and kill crabs and other marine animals, degrade the sea floor upon which they rest, and interfere with other fishing.
The coast, rivers, and lakes of the Pacific Northwest are beautiful and versatile, and yet, they all share a common feature: the presence of marine debris. From large debris to tiny microplastics, marine debris is present in bodies of water worldwide and requires a comprehensive approach to prevent it, research its attributes, and reduce its impacts.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to share the redeveloped Marine Debris Information Clearinghouse. The Marine Debris Information Clearinghouse, first launched in 2013, is designed to provide direct access to the marine debris community on projects completed or underway that can inform and improve their work.