NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Mississippi Coastal Cleanup volunteers collect more than 60 tons of trash


By: Lauren Thompson, ICC Coordinator-Mississippi, MDMR Public Relations Director

Mother Nature cooperated this year with the 23rd annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup: Low tide uncovered more trash for volunteers to pick up along the shoreline, and relatively calm seas allowed boaters to get out to the barrier islands and comb those beaches as well.

More than 3,100 volunteers and 80 sponsors collected 123,032 pounds of trash during the October 15 event, which is part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment.

The annual cleanup – organized by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force – took place at 77 sites in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. Volunteers collected 171 tires for recycling and filled 55 bags with recyclable items.

Mai Dang and her daughters Ashlyn and Kaitlyn clean the beach in Biloxi, MS. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)

More than 20 tons of debris alone was removed from the state-protected Ansley Preserve marshes, through Mississippi Power’s Renew Our Rivers program, which is a partner in the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup. Much of the debris removed from the preserve, such as remnants of homes, was generated by Hurricane Katrina.

Volunteers tallied the items picked up during the event on data cards and turned these in to MDMR, providing valuable information about the amount, location and types of debris collected. Sources of marine debris can then be targeted for education or pollution-prevention campaigns, like Mississippi’s fishing line recycling program, which began in 2008. Fishing line recycling tubes were installed at public piers and boat launches all along coastal Mississippi, and to date approximately 300 pounds of fishing line has been collected and sent for recycling.

Our coastal waterways provide food for our families, recreation, and livelihoods for many of us. It’s the lifeblood on which our fisheries and marine wildlife depend. Our annual coastal cleanup is a reminder that, yes, we can make a difference in keeping our shorelines clean and litter-free:  One cigarette butt at a time, one piece of fishing line at a time, one plastic bag at a time.

For more information, contact Lauren Thompson at

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.

3 thoughts on “Mississippi Coastal Cleanup volunteers collect more than 60 tons of trash

  1. General Topic for Marine Debris Blog (not related to Miss. clean up) –
    Why isn’t there an update about the mass of floating debris from Japan’s tsunami? It is now washing up on North America (B.C. and Alaska) and Vancouver has mass seal and turtle deaths reported today that may be related.
    The debris is millions of tons. And it is washing up years before government agencies projected it would.

    Perhaps make a sub-page to this blog with NOAA updates and news. What people want to see is satellite view of the main sections.

  2. Now if we could only have this sort of clean up effort for all our rivers and beaches around the country and on a monthly basis!

  3. Annual clean ups are invaluable for many reasons, not only is it beneficial for our planet it is also a great reminder that we all need to do our part cleaning up on a regular basis. Many people don’t realize that a little bit of junk and trash accumulates into tons and tons of junk and debris.

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