This year marks the ten year anniversary of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and we will be celebrating throughout the year! As part of our celebration, we will be looking back on our accomplishments over the years (check out our timeline for a review of the past decade!). Let’s take a look back to 2011:
By 2011, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) had been fighting marine debris for five years. Not to slow down our momentum in combating this pervasive issue, the MDP co-hosted the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference (5IMDC) that year, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme. The 5IMDC took place in Honolulu, Hawaii, bringing together experts in the marine debris field. As a result of this conference, the Honolulu Strategy was born—a comprehensive guide for global efforts to reduce the impacts of marine debris, intended to be used as a planning tool and common frame of reference for marine debris activities.
Unfortunately, 2011 was a big year in the marine debris world not just because of the important 5IMDC, but also because of a natural event that happened in Japan in March of that year. On March 11th, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake shook the ground off the coast of Japan and set in motion a tsunami that would become one of the worst natural disasters in the nation’s history. Many lives were lost, countless property was destroyed, and a large amount of marine debris was swept into the Pacific Ocean. Marine debris that resulted from this natural disaster would keep the MDP busy for several years afterward, as it began to reach U.S. shores.
Keep an eye on our blog throughout the year to learn about more of the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s accomplishments over the past decade.