Posts tagged with

Pacific Northwest

Balloon Marine Debris on the Washington Coast

Posted Thu, 04/07/2016 - 11:43

By: Nir Barnea, Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator, and Emma Tonge, Intern, with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

 Many thanks go out to Russ Lewis, Heidi Pedersen, and Dana Wu for the balloon reports.

I was on a phone interview with Glenn Farley, a reporter with King 5 TV in Seattle who was preparing a report on balloons that become marine debris, when he asked, “So, how many balloons have been found along the Washington coast?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer for him. “I find balloons occasionally during marine debris cleanups, and I know that others do too, but I don’t have a number for you,” I told him. Obviously, this was one of those situations where “I’ll get back to you later” was in order.

His question made me curious, and I wanted to have a better idea of the scale of this problem. How many balloons? What type? How do we get this information? It was clear that a full scale, scientific study on the number of balloons arriving on the Washington coast would take much time and effort. But, could we possibly get current anecdotal information to give us an idea of how many balloons are found?

“Washed Ashore” Art and Education

Posted Mon, 09/28/2015 - 12:46

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

The first thing you see as you approach the Washed Ashore gallery in Bandon, Oregon, is a creation of plastic pieces and nets: Henry the Fish. When you enter the gallery and look up, an ocean gyre is above you. It is made of a bluish fishing net, and plastic pieces of different shapes and colors “float” within it. A whale bone structure made of white plastic containers is in the center. Although they are colorful, nothing is painted: there is plenty of marine debris in all shapes and colors available to give the sculptures any color in the rainbow, highlighting the message that marine debris is a prevalent problem we must address.