Ten Things You Should Know About Marine Debris
Monkseal being rescued from marine debris
1. It doesn’t stay put
While a lot of debris sinks, much also floats. Once this marine debris enters the ocean, it moves via oceanic currents and atmospheric winds. Factors that affect currents and winds (for example, El Niño and seasonal changes) also affect the movement of marine debris in the ocean. Debris is often carried far from its origin, which makes it difficult to determine exactly where an item came from.
2. It comes in many forms
Marine debris comes in many forms, ranging from small plastic cigarette butts to 4,000-pound derelict fishing nets. Plastic bags, glass, metal, Styrofoam, tires, derelict fishing gear, and abandoned vessels are all examples of debris that often ends up in our waterways.
3. It’s your problem, too
Marine debris is a problem for all of us. It affects everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing and navigation to human health and safety; from the tiniest coral polyps to giant blue whales.
4. NOAA is fighting this problem
The NOAA Marine Debris Program works in the U.S. and around the world to research, reduce, and prevent debris in our oceans and coastal waterways. Much of this work is done in partnership with other agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia, industry, and private businesses.The Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act, signed into law in 2006, formally created the Marine Debris Program. The Act directs NOAA to map, identify, measure impacts of, remove, and prevent marine debris.
5. Some debris is being turned into energy
Abandoned and lost fishing gear is a big problem. It entangles and kills marine life and is a hazard to navigation. Based on a model program in Hawaii, the Fishing for Energy program was formed in 2008 to tackle this problem with creative new ideas. The program is a partnership between NOAA, Covanta Energy Corporation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Schnitzer Steel.This program offers the fishing community a no-cost way to dispose of old or derelict fishing gear. Once removed from the environment, the gear is transported to the nearest Covanta Energy-from-Waste facility. About one ton of derelict nets creates enough electricity to power one home for 25 days!
6. Marine debris can hurt or kill animals
Marine debris may be mistaken by some animals for food or eaten accidently. Often, larger items like nets, fishing line, and abandoned crab pots snare or trap animals. Entanglement can lead to injury, illness, suffocation, starvation, and even death. NOAA is working with many partners to tackle this problem by reducing and preventing marine debris in our oceans and waterways.
7. There’s a lot to learn about this problem
We know that marine debris is a big problem, but there’s much we need to learn. NOAA funds projects across the country and works with scientists and experts around the globe to better understand how marine debris moves, where it comes from, and how it affects the environment. This knowledge will help us find better ways to tackle the problem.
8. You can help us get the word out!
The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers a heap of creative products to get the word out about marine debris. Looking for brochures, posters, fact sheets, or guidebooks? We’ve got those. Like videos? We’ve got those, too. We even have a blog! You’ll find it all online.
9. This is a global problem.
Marine debris is a global problem that requires global solutions. NOAA experts work with scientists and organizations around the world to share lessons learned, discover what programs work best, and map out future strategies to fight this problem.
10. Small steps lead to big results
Fighting the marine debris problem begins at home.
- – Try to cut back on the amount of trash you produce.
- – Opt for reusable items instead of single-use products.
- – Recycle as much of your trash as you can.
- – Join local efforts to pick up trash.
- – Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and storm drains free of trash—they can empty into our oceans and waterways.
It’s so sad to see this, people just don’t realize! I do because I clean up our own beach on Lake Michigan, so I imagine it’s so worse in the oceans and judging by the photos . . . will share
Each tide brings in more trash, I’m afraid, and more so with high winds and waves. It’s a constant battle. I’ve got another post on this soon. A supposedly pristine beach in the Bahamas is one thing but I really hate the photos of beaches in the wilderness e.g. Alaska covered in plastic. BTW do you get Kirtland’s Warblers in your part of Michigan? RH
Yes, we do have Kirtland warblers here! They have been making a come back since being on the endangered list.
They are on my ‘post’ list. Summer in Michigan, winter on Abaco and elsewhere in the Bahamas. And back from the brink… as long as their habitat is protected in both places. Do you have photos, by any chance? RH
Gosh, I don’t have a photo of the Kirtland Warbler, sorry. Will check out your Summer in Michigan post
Reblogged this on Ecuador Galore and commented:
Ecuador Galore is not a Public Service Announcement platform. HOWEVER, The subject of Rolling Harbour’s Marine Debris? post affects millions of people worldwide. What can you do to help?
Thanks for sharing this post around! Much appreciated. Good wishes from Rolling Harbour
Great article! Every time I see this type of post it makes me so very sad. And every time – it still seems absolutely shocking.
Pinned, tweeted, and scooped (see the scoop at http://scoop.it/t/ecoscifi).
Hi Garry, many thanks for kindly passing this one round. I’ll have another marine debris post soon, focussed on the ‘pristine’ white sand beaches of Abaco, Bahamas (population: small). All manner of wonderful objects turn up, some very large, most of them plastic… All the best, RH
Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".
Hi Nancy, many thanks for reblogging this piece. Aside from the wretched creatures, the NOAA images of trash in pristine environments are quite a shock. I’ll have another post soon about trash on Abaco beaches. We get some amazing stuff – including a booster rocket fairing from the Mars ‘Curiosity’ launch’. All the best, RH
Hi RH! At the risk of sounding”Pro Flotsam and Jetsom”,there is a surprisingly beneficial side to this much despised activity. Many a shipwreck,or marooned seafarer have successfully survived their ordeal via the provisions of societies carelessness, or disregard. I myself have been often rewarded at the high tide lines in the Bahamas. Just sayin’! I have also freed Sea Cows, Sea Birds, Sea Turtles, etc from hooks,lines 6 pac rings, netting, and so forth.
I do see that there are two sides to this, Rick… and certainly some quite interesting / useful items wash up on the beach (e.g. the Curiosity launch rocket fairing at Delphi). But all the rope, netting etc and that tasty polystyrene… Mmmmmm, maybe best for the sea creatures if it wasn’t around in the first place? All the best, RH
Reblogga detta på Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.
Thanks for spreading this one around, Ann. RH