NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!


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Spring Break Means Warming Weather and Marine Debris

Believe it or not, but flowers are already poking their heads out and it’s about time for spring break for students around the country. Whether you’re spending your break in an exotic location or staying local, there are lots of opportunities to spend this time giving back while still having fun.

A great way to both enjoy some outside time and do some good for your environment is to join a shoreline cleanup! There are lots of cleanups happening around the country and across the world, so find one in your area and help pick up some marine debris. No scheduled cleanup near you? Start one yourself by organizing a group of people to clean up your nearby shoreline or street (just remember, safety first!).

If staying indoors is more your thing, you can still help fight marine debris! The ultimate solution to this problem is prevention, so spread the word to your family and friends. Feeling crafty? Make some signs to let people know how they can help. Or, take some of those old items you’ve been meaning to throw away and repurpose them into something useful.

Spring break already packed? No worries, there are still lots of ways you can help in the fight against marine debris without taking up a lot of time. One of the best ways to fight marine debris daily is by making sure to follow the 3Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle! Even though it might not seem like much, if we all put forth just a little effort, together we can make a big difference!

A flowering tree with a plastic bag caught in the branches.

It’s getting warmer out and you’re probably seeing flowers blooming, birds chirping, and… debris. Unfortunately, trash like this bag can easily find its way into our waters, becoming marine debris. Spend your spring break addressing this problem! (Photo Credit: NOAA)


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Don’t Get the Winter Blues—Get the Winter Can-Do’s Instead!

It may be cold and grey outside, but don’t let it get you down! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean our efforts to reduce the impacts of marine debris need to dwindle. There are still lots of ways we can make a difference in the fight against marine debris, even when the winter has slowed things down.

A cleanup crew moving debris into a boat with snowy mountain in the background.

A cleanup crew picks up debris in Alaska. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Don’t forget your 3R’s, which make a difference at any time of year! Reduce the amount of single-use materials that you use. Reuse items when you can. And for the items that you do use, don’t forget to recycle whenever possible (check out this blog on recycling to make sure you’re doing it right!).

Spread the word! It doesn’t have to be warm outside to spread the word to friends and family. Preventing marine debris is the key to solving the problem and we can do that through education and outreach. Many people simply don’t understand the issue or don’t know how they can help, so get the word out there! If you’re still in school or involved in teaching, consider incorporating one of our activities or lessons into your classroom. Use the activities demonstrated in our Trash Talk Webinar to discuss marine debris in your boy/girl scout troop. Watch our Trash Talk videos and talk about marine debris with your family. No matter how seemingly small, you can make a big difference.

You can still get involved in cleanup events! There may be fewer cleanups at this time of year due to the cold weather in a lot of areas, but there are still opportunities to clean up! Find one in your area or organize one yourself (remember safety first!) and use the Marine Debris Tracker App! If you haven’t already, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, which lists cleanups around the country.

Don’t get the winter blues—get the winter can-do’s and continue the fight against marine debris!


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Celebrate MLK Service Day by Joining a Shoreline Cleanup!

Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and let’s remember that it’s not just a day off from work and school, but a day to think about Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he did for our country. To commemorate a great man who spent his life serving others, this day has become a time to come together to give back to our communities and volunteer our time to a good cause. If you’d like to participate in Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day, consider joining a cleanup in your area. Cleaning up your local shoreline or even just your neighborhood can help prevent trash from becoming marine debris and can help to create a healthy ocean that we can all enjoy.

Groups across the country host cleanup events throughout the weekend and volunteers are always welcome. If you can’t make it to an organized event, consider either organizing your own or just grabbing a trash bag and some gloves and cleaning up your local area. No effort is too small. If you choose to serve on your own, please remember “safety first!” Interested in getting involved in cleanups in the future, too? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to get updates on upcoming cleanups around the country.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day!

Kids pick up debris.

Volunteers work to clean up their local area at a cleanup event in Washington, DC. (Photo Credit: NOAA)


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Let’s Celebrate Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day and what better time to think about the impact we each have on our planet?

We’ve been talking about garbage patches this week and what we can do to fight them. The ongoing influx of marine debris into these garbage patches is what we need to address. To do this, we can each think about how we personally contribute to environmental problems like marine debris, take steps to prevent it, and get involved in cleaning up the debris that litters our communities and shores.

Volunteers sort through the sand to find debris. (Photo Credit: SOLVE)

Celebrate Earth Day by participating in a cleanup event! (Photo Credit: SOLVE)

This Earth Day, celebrate our planet by getting involved in a cleanup near you! There are countless opportunities around the country both today and this weekend to get involved in cleaning our shores and fighting marine debris. Here’s a small sampling of events you can get involved in this Earth Day:

Friday, April 22nd:

Host: Wells Reserve; Where: Laudholm, ME

Saturday, April 23rd:

Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes; Where: Memorial Drive Wayside Beach – North, Two Rivers, WI

Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes; Where: Point Gratiot Beach, Dunkirk, NY

Host: Anacostia Watershed Society; Where: Anacostia Watershed, MD & Washington DC

Host: CoastSavers; Where: Various locations, WA

Host: Concerned Citizens of Montauk; Where: Montauk, NY

Host: Grassroots Garbage Gang; Where: Long Beach Peninsula, WA

Host: Malama Na `Apapa (email scottbacon@kauaicoral.com for more info); Where: Koloa Landing, HI

Host: Partnership for Providence Parks; Where: Providence, RI

Host: Seacoast Science Center; Where: Rye, NH

Host: SOLVE; Where: Tillamook Bay, Bay City, OR

Host: Texas Adopt-a-Beach ; Where: Various locations, TX


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It’s Time For Some Spring Cleaning!

It’s almost April and not only is April Earth Month, but it’s also a wonderful time to get going on some spring cleaning! This is a great time of year to clean your closet, your house, and your local shore.

Nothing says spring cleaning like getting involved in a good old-fashioned cleanup. Organizations around the country are holding coastal cleanups this month, so volunteer and get involved! Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get monthly updates on cleanups across the nation. Don’t see a cleanup near you? Start your own (just remember, safety always comes first)!

Don’t have the time to devote to a cleanup? There are many other ways you can help clean your area. To start, don’t forget that following the three R’s always helps, so make sure to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible! If you want to help stop marine debris and love spring gardening, then consider planting a rain garden. With the spring rains coming through, debris can easily wash into your local waterways. Plant a rain garden to help stop the flow and make your yard look beautiful in the meantime!

Marine debris on the shore of a marsh with new green plants.

Clean your shore this spring! (Photo Credit: Keep Charleston Beautiful)

How will you help out our ocean and Great Lakes this spring break?


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Cleanup Your Shore on MLK Service Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is coming up on Monday. To commemorate a great man who spent his life serving others, this day has become a time to come together to give back to our communities and volunteer our time to a good cause. If you’d like to participate in Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day, consider joining a cleanup in your area. Cleaning up your local shoreline or even just your neighborhood can help prevent trash from becoming marine debris and can help to create a healthy ocean that we can all enjoy.

Volunteers picking up marine debris at a shoreline cleanup. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

(Photo Credit: NOAA)

Groups across the country host cleanup events throughout the weekend and volunteers are always welcome. If you can’t make it to an organized event, consider organizing your own or just grabbing a trash bag and some gloves and cleaning up your local area. No effort is too small. Here are a few cleanups happening this weekend:

 

Saturday, Jan 16th

Host: Grassroots Garbage GangWhere: Long Beach Peninsula, Seaview, WA

Host: 808 Cleanups; Where: Ala Moana Beach, Honolulu, HI

Monday, Jan 18th

Host: NYC Dept. of Parks & RecreationWhere: Idlewild Park, Queens, NY

Host: Golden Gate National Parks ConservancyWhere: Ocean Beach, Stairwell 17, San Francisco, CA

Host: Save our ShoresWhere: Sunny Cove Hot Spot Beach, Santa Cruz, CA

 

If you choose to serve on your own, please remember “safety first!” Interested in getting involved in cleanups in the future, too? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to get updates on upcoming cleanups.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day!


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Baby It’s Cold Outside, But Our Efforts Against Marine Debris Won’t Stop!

Brrrr! It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean our efforts to reduce the impacts of marine debris should wane. There are still lots of things we can all do to help our ocean, even when winter has slowed things down.

Marine debris floating in water with snow-capped mountains in the background. (Photo Credit: Citizen JTMD Report, Alaska SeaLife Center)

(Photo Credit: Citizen JTMD Report, Alaska SeaLife Center)

 

A recycling bin with various materials to be recycled. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

(Photo Credit: NOAA)

1) Do your part to reduce, reuse, recycle:  As always, make sure to limit the amount of single-use plastic that you use. Reuse what you can: holiday gifts come with foam packaging? Re-used foam makes excellent extra insulation on areas that need it! Finally, make sure to recycle the plastics that you do use.

 

 

 

 

The home screen of the trash talk videos. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

(Photo Credit: NOAA)

2) Prevention is key:  Don’t feel like going outside to combat debris on your local shore? You can stay inside and contribute to one of the most important parts of fighting marine debris—prevention! Fighting marine debris in other ways is important, but preventing it is key. Without prevention, fighting marine debris would be like trying to mop up an overflowing sink before turning off the faucet! Spread the word about solutions to this issue. If you’re still in school or involved in teaching, incorporate one of our activities or curricula into your classroom. Use the activities demonstrated in our Trash Talk Webinar to discuss marine debris in your boy/girl scout troop. Watch our Trash Talk videos and talk about marine debris with your family. No matter how seemingly small, you can make a big difference.

 

 

A group of cleanup volunteers on a beach and holding bags of debris. (Photo Credit: American Littoral Society)

Shoreline cleanup volunteers. (Photo Credit: American Littoral Society)

3) You can still participate in beach cleanup events: There may be fewer cleanups occurring due to the cold weather in a lot of areas, but there are still opportunities to get involved. Subscribe to our Marine Debris Program e-newsletter to get the latest updates. In case you didn’t get it, the cleanups from our latest newsletter are listed below. Can’t make it to a listed cleanup? Organize your own and use the Marine Debris Tracker!

 

 

 

 

A table listing the upcoming cleanup events.