By: Nancy Wallace, Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program
2015 was a busy year for the NOAA Marine Debris Program. We continued our important work funding removal projects around the country as well as our efforts to remove debris connected to the tsunami in Japan and Hurricane Sandy. The Program also worked to prevent future debris by engaging in education and outreach focusing on behavior change, including funding the development of new curriculum, supporting outreach to teens and teacher workshops, and working with recreational fishermen. This year, we were particularly proud of our “Trash Talk” videos, a six-part educational series created with NOAA Ocean Today, which were designed to raise awareness on the issue of marine debris in a fun, visual, interesting way.
In 2015, we strove to continue to be at the forefront of the marine debris issue. We collaborated with various partners to develop regional marine debris plans and to create marine debris exhibits at visitor centers around the nation. We supported research to better understand the impacts and distribution of marine debris, including investigating the concentration of microplastics in the Gulf of Alaska and the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, we participated in the global marine debris discussion by participating in the G7 Summit and acting as Chair of the UN’s Environment Programme’s Global Partnership on Marine Litter. Looking to the future, we developed a new NOAA Marine Debris Program Strategic Plan, which outlines the Program’s goals and strategies for the coming years.
I’m proud of the efforts put forth by the Program and am looking forward to our future achievements. I am excited to present the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s 2015 Accomplishments Report, which highlights some of our major achievements over the past fiscal year.