The Marine Debris Program’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

Posted Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:44

Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love. Don’t just show your love to another person, but to our ocean and Great Lakes too. Follow the Marine Debris Program’s Guide to the perfect Valentine’s Day:

The Outfit - Picking out the perfect outfit is the first step towards having a fantastic Valentine’s Day. You want to look your best and keep harmful debris out of the ocean and Great Lakes. A recent study between the Marine Debris Program, Clemson University, and the National Park Service (NPS) found that microfibers made up 97 percent of the marine debris found by count at the NPS beaches surveyed. Pick out high quality clothes that are less likely to shed microfibers in your washing machine.


A bouquet of straws.
Single-use plastic straws are a commonly found debris item, but using alternatives can help you cut down on waste. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

The Gift - A bouquet of flowers is traditional, but it’s also boring. Not to mention, those flowers, and the plastic wrapping around them, will have to be thrown out eventually creating more waste. Show your paramour that you are a thoughtful person who cares about preventing marine debris. Consider a gift that will keep giving to both the planet and your valentine, such as a reusable straw. Plus, they’ll think of you everytime they take a sip with their new straw.


Two hands reaching for a plastic fork.
Lightweight single-use plastics like forks or bottles can easily be washed into the ocean and Great Lakes with stormwater runoff. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

The Activity - Pack some gloves and trash bags and clean up your neighborhood. Your date will be impressed to know that you care about your community. Share a special moment as you both reach for the discarded single-use bottle on the side of the road. Then make sure to dispose of all the debris in a proper container, like a recycling or trash can with a secure lid, so that none of that trash can escape.


A glass food container on a table.
Food packaging is consistently one of the top debris types found during the International Coastal Cleanup. You can cut down on this by using reusables instead. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

The Dinner - If you have planned ahead, you probably already have a dinner reservation at a fancy restaurant for you and your boo. Dinner out can often mean bringing home a doggy bag. Show your date that you know how to anticipate their needs and protect marine life. Bring your own containers to the restaurant to pack up any leftovers.


The marine debris tracker app.
By collecting data on debris, we can discover what solutions work the best. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

The End of the Night - After dinner, take your date for a stroll near the water. What’s more romantic than a moonlit walk on the beach? Kick up the romance even further by adding in some data collection. Rather than just holding hands under the stars, further scientific knowledge by classifying the debris you find. One of you can hold the flashlight as the other inputs the data into the Marine Debris Tracker App.

With these tips, we hope that you have a wonderful night full of romance and trash, but showing your love shouldn’t happen just once a year. You can pick up litter, use reusables, monitor marine debris, and watch out for microfibers any day of the year.

The Marine Debris Program’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

Posted Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:44

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For citation purposes, unless otherwise noted, this article was authored by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.


Sat, 02/16/2019 - 15:40

Thank you for your work and for bringing the problem of plastic litter to the attention of all Americans.

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