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.
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.