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NOAA and BoatU.S. Foundation Team up to Address Marine Debris

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In recognition of Earth Day, BoatU.S. Foundation, a NOAA Marine Debris Program partner, highlighted their Reel In and Recycle program at an event at their headquarters in Alexandria, VA. I was able to participate, and I learned that Reel In and Recycle is a great national program that encourages fishing enthusiasts to recycle monofilament line in special bins .

The fruit of our labor: 400 bins! Photo credit: NOAA MDP

The balmy 80-degree weather made for a fine day to get out and do a little manual labor in the interest of encouraging recycling and reducing marine debris. The event brought together leaders and staff from BoatU.S. Foundation and NOAA. After introductions, a tour of the BoatU.S. Foundation headquarters, and a briefing on the program, we were given our marching orders: assemble 400 monofilament collection bins and pack them for shipment! A small mountain of bin components awaited us outside.

Good thing we brought the big guns. It was a pleasure to meet and work alongside NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and John Gray, NOAA’s Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. These two leaders demonstrated that their practical skills and competence extend beyond the realm of high-level policy, as John connected the newly glued (by me!) PVC “elbows” to the bins and Jane deftly applied the program stickers. Along with Dennis Rosen and other members of the tightly knit BoatU.S. Foundation team, the group kept up a healthy banter, taunting each other to work faster and improve quality control as we cranked out the shiny new bins. NOAA Office or Response and Restoration Deputy Director Brian Julius and Megan Forbes, of the Marine Debris Program, were also on hand and were integral to the assembly line approach we took to bin production.

Volunteers hard at work building bins. Photo credit: NOAA MDP

With the combined skill and drive of NOAA and BoatU.S. Foundation, the monumental task of assembling and preparing 400 new monofilament recycling bins was accomplished in little over an hour. As the event wrapped up, a shipping company was already loading up the boxes of bins and sending them on their way to coastal fishing holes around the nation. By the time you read this, many of the bins we built will be installed and working to give fishermen a convenient way to properly dispose of used monofilament. In 2010 alone, 2,700 miles of line were collected for recycling according to the program’s online data tracking system.

The day was a success, thanks to all the participants and especially the hard work of Susan Shingledecker of BoatU.S. Foundation, who planned the event and manages the Reel In and Recycle program. I was proud to help represent NOAA and the Marine Debris Program in demonstrating our commitment to this valuable partnership and to keeping marine debris out of our coastal waterways.

NOAA's Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco working side-by-side with BoatU.S. Foundation on bin building event in Virginia. Photo credit: NOAA MDP

– Ben

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

One thought on “NOAA and BoatU.S. Foundation Team up to Address Marine Debris

  1. I would like to have someone send me a photo of the monofilament recycling bins you all worked to assemble, label, and ship out. Please send it to my facebook group’s page: SEMINOLE DISCUSSION GROUP ON RECYCLING AND SUSTAINABILITY. We are a discussion group who invites a special guest speaker to attend each month’s meeting. We are soon planning to host a speaker to teach us about sustainable fisheries. Please JOIN our little discussion group on facebook! It would be very encouraging for us if you did. Congrats on the fine work of your national organization! Mary

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