NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

When It Rains, It Pours (Debris)

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By: Sherry Lippiatt

Californians have seen huge amounts of rain these past two weeks, thanks to a series of storms moving through the region. We desperately need the rain here, but not the marine debris that comes with it. Major rainstorms inevitably lead to runoff, which can mobilize and turn upstream litter into marine debris downstream.

Sights such as this are common after major winter storms in California:

Marine debris along the Santa Monica coastline in Southern California after the “first flush,” the first Fall season rain. Photo credit: Heal the Bay

Marine debris along the Santa Monica coastline in Southern California after the “first flush,” the first Fall season rain. Photo credit: Heal the Bay

So what can we do? For starters, the easiest thing is to continue to reduce, reuse, and recycle to cut off debris at the source. If wet or windy weather is in the forecast, try to schedule a neighborhood cleanup before the storm, and consider not leaving your full garbage, recycling, or compost bins on the street until the weather has passed.

The upside is that some local efforts to intercept and filter out solid debris in runoff have been effective. As you might have read in a previous blog, a recent NOAA study showed that reducing marine debris on Southern California beaches can prevent financial loss and provide economic benefits to residents. Preventing litter from becoming marine debris is good news for our beaches and our wallets!

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.

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