NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Marine Debris Prevention: it takes teamwork



By: Sherry Lippiatt, California Regional Coordinator

Hello from Long Beach, CA!

In mid-February, I was honored to participate in an event and panel discussion at the Aquarium of the Pacific highlighting plastics in the marine environment. The panel introduced the issue to the audience and talked about solutions, while the non-profit 5 Gyres Institute debuted a traveling exhibit on the impacts of ocean pollution.

The 5 Gyres Institute's traveling exhibit.

Saving Our Synthetic Seas, a traveling exhibition put together by The 5 Gyres Institute. Pictured from left to right is a Japanese vessel found floating in the North Pacific, masks cast from plastic, and the stomach contents of a camel that ingested rope and plastic bags.

Here are my take-aways from the evening:

It became clear that although marine debris seems like a relatively simple problem to solve – it’s visible, tangible, and comes directly from humans – the issue needs to be addressed at multiple levels. Meaning, to make great strides in preventing marine debris we need industry participation and innovation, effective policies grounded in sound science, and changes in consumer behavior.

It’s true that more research is needed to fully understand and measure the impacts of debris, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take action. While advances in science will help us identify better, more successful management strategies, there are easy changes we can make every day to make a huge difference. For example, reducing our consumption of single-use, disposable plastics is a great start. (See Ocean Conservancy’s Keep the Coast Clear website for more suggestions).

A big thank-you to the Aquarium of the Pacific, Algalita Marine Research Institute, 5 Gyres, and my fellow panelists from the NRDC and Packaging 2.0 for the inspiring discussion!

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.

2 thoughts on “Marine Debris Prevention: it takes teamwork

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