Although preventing marine debris is the ultimate solution, removing debris as it accumulates on our shores is an unfortunate necessity. In Alaska, there are currently some pretty cool removal efforts underway to clean up Alaska’s coasts, which are often remote and difficult to access.
The Island Trails Network (ITN) is addressing the issue of debris in remote areas in an innovative and unique way! This effort focuses on Shuyak Island, an area rich in biodiversity that’s located in the western Gulf of Alaska. This location is exposed to high winds and strong currents that cause marine debris to build up, but also make it difficult to access. To solve this problem, ITN recruited qualified volunteers from around the world to come to Alaska and clean the shoreline using sea kayaks, collecting debris and moving it to more easily-accessible areas, where it is later removed and analyzed. Learn more about this project here.
In communities across the Bering Sea, another removal effort is underway. The Sitka Sound Science Center is working with local communities to remove large accumulations of marine debris from critical areas in remote Alaskan locations. Working to restore habitat and prevent harmful wildlife interactions, they’re removing debris and assessing its composition, accumulation rate, and sources. Learn more about this project here.