NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Cleaning Up the Pascagoula: A Look Back

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The NOAA Marine Debris Program 10 year anniversary identity marker.


Over the years of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, there have been many efforts around the country to rid our waters and shores of marine debris. As part of our ten-year anniversary celebration, let’s take a look back at one of those efforts in our Gulf of Mexico region.


The Pascagoula River is a waterway that winds its way through southeastern Mississippi and was the location of some pretty cool removal efforts back in 2010. The lower Pascagoula River unfortunately sees a lot of land-based marine debris from upriver sources, including foam from houseboats and docks, appliances, and consumer debris.

Debris in the Pascagoula River. (Photo Credit: Coastal Rivers)

Debris in the Pascagoula River. (Photo Credit: Coastal Rivers)

Coastal Rivers, with funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, led the way in cleaning up this area by participating in or sponsoring a total of 64 cleanup days, removing debris (and recycling when possible!), and educating the community about marine debris by placing signs on boat ramps, participating in outreach events, and distributing reusable bags. Overall, this group removed a total of 54,300 pounds (that’s 27.15 tons) of debris! This included all sorts of debris items, including plastic and glass bottles (which were the most collected items) and over 150 refrigerators!

This project was completed in 2012, although there was (and is) still a long way to go before we see this area trash-free. However, Coastal Rivers ended their efforts with some wise words: “lf we believe the bad things done to our environment, no matter how small, have a cumulative effect, then surely the good things, no matter how small, also have a cumulative effect.” Each of the projects our partners have put their effort into has an effect on fighting marine debris. If we all made a small effort, think of the difference we could make!

For more on this project, check out the Marine Debris Clearinghouse.

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 “Cleaning Up the Pascagoula: A Look Back

  1. This example inspires, we can make a difference collectively and individually and it is so worth it. Thanks to all that worked on this example project. Carol

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