NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

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Show Mother Earth Some Love on Mother’s Day

Sunday is Mother’s Day and while you’re celebrating the mothers in your life, take some time to think about Mother Earth, too! There are lots of things we can do every day to show Mother Earth some love, and she deserves it considering all she does for us! One of the simplest and easiest ways to love our Earth is to learn what can be recycled in your area and follow that up by recycling those items properly. Step it up a notch by reusing those items instead—use that plastic water bottle again and again or repurpose it into something completely different, like a bird feeder or flower pot! Step up your Mother’s Day gift-giving game for our Mother Earth even more by reducing your use of or refusing items you don’t need. When you’re at a restaurant for Mother’s Day brunch, ask for your water without a straw. Each little effort goes a long way, so spread the word to your family and friends so they can get in on the action, too! Want to be a Mother’s Day gift-giving champion? Join a cleanup in your area to help pick up debris! Mother Earth will love it. There are always lots of events going on (subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter for a list of cleanups around the country). If you can’t find one close by, start your own using the Marine Debris Tracker App! No gift is too small to show some appreciation for our Mother Earth on Mother’s Day and every day.

A graphic of the Earth, made up of marine debris.

Show Mother Earth some love this Mother’s Day. (Credit: NOAA)

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Don’t Forget to Get Involved This Earth Day!

Earth Day is tomorrow and there is still plenty of time to figure out how you’d like to get involved and celebrate! There are many things we can all do in our everyday lives to help our planet and Earth Day is a great time to start those habits. Earth Day is also a good time to make the extra effort to get involved in a cleanup. You can get outside to enjoy the nice spring weather and have a good time with friends as you also work to pick up debris and clean our environment. Not sure where to find a cleanup near you? Check out this list of cleanups throughout the country! There have been some recent additions to the list, so take another look if you’ve seen it already.

One event to get involved in is with NOAA Marine Debris Program partner, Stockton University, whom is hosting a Volunteer Processing and Community Day in New Jersey. This event is part of their Ghost Pot Prevention and Removal Project, and will involve volunteers processing about 500 derelict crab pots that have been recovered over the last year! This isn’t just a chance to help clean our Earth, but also to get involved in important data collection as part of one of the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s funded projects. This is just one of countless opportunities around the country to get involved in, so find the right one for you or start your own using the Marine Debris Tracker App, and go celebrate our Earth this Earth Day!

A group of people hauling marine debris off a beach.

Get involved and join a cleanup this Earth Day! (Photo Credit: Student Conservation Association)

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Get Involved on Earth Day and Beyond!

By: Amanda Laverty, Knauss Fellow with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Earth Day is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to get involved and support efforts working toward a clean environment and healthy planet. We want to remind ourselves to make these efforts throughout the year, so Earth Day is a great time to start. This year, let’s challenge ourselves as consumers to make better daily choices so that we can collectively lessen our impact on the planet! It only takes a few consistent choices to develop new sustainable and earth-friendly habits. Here are a few easy and effective ways you can choose to reduce your daily impact and make a world of difference:

  1. Bring a bag. Remember to bring reusable bags to the grocery store or for any other shopping activities to reduce consumption of disposable bags.
  2. Invest in a reusable water bottle. Acquiring a reusable water bottle would not only greatly reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use, but it would also save you money in the long run! If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, consider using a water filter.
  3. Bring your own reusable cup. Think about how many disposable cups are used every day in just your local coffee shop. Bringing a mug for your morning coffee can reduce the amount of waste you produce annually. Imagine how much waste we could reduce if we all made this simple daily change!
  4. Refuse single-use items. Take note on how often you rely on single-use items and choose to replace them with more sustainable versions. Refusing plastic straws and disposable cutlery when you go out and bringing your own containers for leftovers are a few ways you can start today.
  5. Avoid products with microbeads. Facial scrubs and beauty products containing plastic microbeads were banned in the United States in 2015, but won’t be fully phased out until 2019. Read the labels when purchasing products and opt for ones that contain natural scrubbing ingredients like salt or sugar.
  6. Shop in bulk. Consider the product-to-packaging ratio when purchasing items and choose larger containers instead of multiple smaller ones. When you have the option, also consider purchasing package-free foods and household goods.
  7. Make sure your waste goes to the right place. Do your best to ensure that the waste you dispose of ends up where it should. Recycle the materials that are recyclable in your area and make sure to reduce the likelihood of your garbage ending up in the environment by keeping a lid on your trash can when it’s outside.
  8. Compost. Composting at home reduces the volume of garbage sent to landfills and reduces the chance of some products becoming marine debris.

These are just a few ways that we can apply our Earth Day intentions to our everyday lives. By doing our part to work toward a sustainable and debris-free planet, we’ll also be providing others with inspiration and a good example to follow. As individuals we have the potential to make a big difference and together we can change the world.

A child's drawing of a clean versus dirty beach.

Get involved this Earth Day! Remember to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle so you don’t end up Regretting your actions. (Credit: 2012 art contest winner Kekoa T., Grade 4, Hawaii)


Join a Cleanup this Earth Day

Kids and a chaperone on a beach with reflective gear and bags of debris and a city in the background.

Join a cleanup near you this Earth Day! (Photo Credit: Stepping Out Stepping In)

It’s April and that means that Earth Day is right around the corner! This year, Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22nd, and it’s a great opportunity to join in the fight against marine debris and prevent trash from entering our ocean, waterways, and Great Lakes. There are lots of cleanup events happening on and around Earth Day; make sure you’re prepared by knowing what cleanups are happening in your area! Here are a few to get you started:


Date: April 15-22; Host: Alabama PALS; Location: throughout Alabama


Date: April 22; Host: California State Parks; Location: sites throughout California

 Date: April 22; Host: City of Oakland; Location: sites in Oakland, CA

Date: April 22; Host: I Love a Clean San Diego; Location: sites in San Diego County, CA

Date: April 22; Host: Save Our Shores; Location: sites in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, CA


Date: April 22; Host: Washington Environmental Council; Location: Washington, CT

Date: April 22; Host: Southwestern Area Health Education Center; Location: Short Beach Park, Stratford, CT

Date: April 22; Host: Keep Madison Clean; Location: Madison, CT

Date: April 22 & 23; Host: Norwalk River Watershed Association and Woodcock Nature Center; Location: sites in Norwalk, Ridgefield, and Wilton, CT


Date: April 22; Host: Town of Fenwick Island; Location: Fenwick Island Town Hall, DE

Date: April 22; Host: The Nature Conservancy; Location: sites in New Castle and Wilmington, DE

District of Columbia:

Date: April 22; Host: Anacostia Watershed Society; Location: sites in Washington, DC

Date: April 22; Host: Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Garden; Location: Washington, DC


Date: April 22; Host: Ocean Hour; Location: Park East and Park West, Pensacola Beach, FL


Date: April 23; Host: Tybee Clean Beach; Location: Tybee Island Marine Science Center, Tybee Island, GA


Date: April 22; Host: Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii; Location: Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Waimanalo, O’ahu, HI

Date: April 22; Host: Surfrider Kauai; Location: Nukoli’i, Kauai, HI

Date: April 22; Host: Friends of Kamalani & Lydgate Park; Location: Lydgate State Park, Lihue, Kauai, HI

Date: April 22; Host: Hawai’i Wildlife Fund; Location: sites on Maui and the Big Island, HI

Date: April 22 & 23; Host: 808 Cleanups; Location: sites in Kahuku and Kapolei, O’ahu, HI

Date: April 23; Host: Sharkastics; Location: Wailuku, Maui, HI


Date: April 22 & 23; Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach; Location: sites in Chicago and Evanston, IL


Date: April 22; Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach; Location: Michigan City and Chesterton, IN


Date: April 21; Host: Wells Reserve; Location: Wells, ME

Date: April 22; Host: South Portland Land Trust; Location: Portland, ME

Date: April 22; Host: Maine Audubon; Location: Scarborough, ME

Date: April 22; Host: College of the Atlantic; Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Date: April 22; Host: Friends of Fort Knox; Location: Fort Knox State Historic Site, Prospect, ME


Date: April 22; Host: Anacostia Watershed Society; Location: sites in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, MD

 Date: April 22; Host: Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Location: Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, MD


Date: April 22; Host: Green Roots; Location: Chelsea City Hall, Chelsea, MA


Date: April 22; Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach; Location: sites in Norton Shores and Muskegon, MI

 New Jersey:

Date: April 22; Host: Clean Ocean Action; Location: sites across New Jersey

Date: April 22; Host: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Location: sites in Cape May, Maplewood, and Jersey City, NJ (and many more!)

Date: April 22; Host: Secaucus Environmental Department; Location: Mill Creek Marsh, Secaucus, NJ

Date: April 22; Host: WeCrab; Location: Stockton University Marine Field Station, Galloway, NJ

New York:

Date: April 22; Host: Gowanus Canal Conservancy; Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date: April 22; Host: Scenic Hudson; Location: Long Dock Park, Beacon, NY

Date: April 22; Host: Concerned Citizens of Montauk; Location: Kirk Park Beach, Montauk, NY

Date: April 22; Host: Keep Islip Clean; Location: Ross Memorial Park, Bay Shore, NY

Date: April 22; Host: Keep Rockland Beautiful; Location: sites in Rockland County, NY

Date: April 22 & 23; Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach; Location: sites in Buffalo and Dunkirk, NY

Date: April 22 & 23; Host: NYC Parks; Location: sites in Staten Island and New York, NY

 North Carolina:

Date: April 22; Host: Keep Onslow Beautiful; Location: Deppe Park, Maysville, NC


Date: April 22; Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach; Location: Timberlake, OH


Date: April 21-23; Host: SOLVE; Location: Portland, Coos Bay, and Seaside, OR (and many more!)


Date: April 22; Host: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Location: sites across Pennsylvania

 Rhode Island:

Date: April 22; Host: Clean Ocean Access; Location: Cliff Walk, Newport, RI

Date: April 22; Host: Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council; Location: Merino Park, Providence, RI

Date: April 21-23; Host: Save the Bay; Location: sites in Warwick, Providence, and Newport, RI (and many more!)


Date: April 22; Host: Texas Adopt-A-Beach; Location: Rockport Beach, South Padre Island, and Galveston Island, TX (and many more!)


Date: April 22; Host: Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority; Location: Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington, VA

Date: April 22; Host: Surfrider Virginia Beach; Location: Lake Holly, Virginia Beach, VA


Date: April 21; Host: Surfrider Seattle; Location: Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, WA

Date: April 22; Host: Duwamish Alive! Coalition; Location: sites on the Duwamish River, WA


Date: April 22; Host: Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach; Location: sites in Racine, Milwaukee, amd Manitowoc, WI

Don’t see a cleanup close to you? Keep an eye on our blog and website for updates closer to Earth Day or start one yourself—gather some friends, grab some gloves and bags, and clean up your area (please remember, safety first)!

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day, So Keep Our Ocean Clean and Go Green!

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and let the sea of green that comes with this holiday remind you to “go green” today and every day! There are lots of ways we can all make our lives a little greener. How could you make your life more environmentally-friendly? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Remember your 3R’s. One of the easiest ways to “go green” is to follow the 3R’s every day and reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible!

Spread the word. Let others know about issues like marine debris and how they can help. A lot of people are unaware of these issues and how their actions can affect our environment. Get your friends and family in on the action and go green together!

Join a cleanup. If you’d like to take a more active role, join a cleanup in your area! Our monthly e-newsletter lists cleanup events around the country each month. Can’t find one near you that works with your schedule? Start one yourself! Gather some friends and pick up debris in your neighborhood or at a nearby stream, river, or shoreline (please remember, safety first!).

Skip the garbage can during spring cleaning. Spring is starting to show itself and with that often comes spring cleaning. Skip the “out with the old, in with the new” mindset and reuse some of those old items rather than tossing them. Donate those old clothes when you’re cleaning out your closet, reuse them as rags, or even convert them into something new!

Keep these in mind as you work to keep our ocean clean and go green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the NOAA Marine Debris Program

A child's drawing of a sea turtle versus a sea turtle filled with marine debris.

Keep our ocean clean and go green! (2013 Art Contest Winner: Aleena F., Grade 5, Texas)

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Love Our Ocean This Valentine’s Day!

It’s Valentine’s Day, so take some time today to show our ocean some love. We get a lot from the ocean—food, travel, even clean air to breathe— so return the love by thinking about how you can help protect it from marine debris. Consider how you might contribute to the marine debris problem and think about changes you could make to help. Do you bring reusable bags to the grocery store? Do you drink out of a reusable bottle at work? Do you recycle the items you use as often as possible? Following the 3R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle!) whenever you can makes a big difference for our ocean.

If you’d like to make a bigger gesture, consider helping to spread the word about marine debris or getting involved in a cleanup event! There are lots of free outreach materials on our website and our monthly e-newsletter lists cleanups happening throughout the country each month. No matter how you choose to show the ocean some love, every little bit helps. Let’s work together to love our ocean and give it the attention it deserves!

Happy Valentine’s Day from the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

Child's drawing of waves with marine debris that says to be part of the solution and to love the ocean.

(Credit: 2017 Marine Debris Calendar Art Contest Winner, Maile R., Grade 1, Hawaii)

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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)