Celebrating World Oceans Day: Get Involved in Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris


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Underwater photo looking up through marine debris floating on the surface.
Underwater photo looking up through marine debris floating on the surface.

Happy World Ocean Day to one and all! On this day each year, we take some time to celebrate our ocean and all that it does for us. From the food we eat to the air we breathe, we are all connected to the ocean, which is reflected in this year’s theme: “healthy oceans, healthy planet.” Unfortunately, there is a substantial threat to the health of our ocean: marine debris. Huge amounts of debris enter the marine environment every day, making marine debris one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the ocean today.

The ocean makes up more than 70 percent of planet Earth. It provides more than half the world’s oxygen. And, it feeds our ever growing population. Our ocean planet gives so much to help us survive every day, and it’s time for us to return the favor. This week, volunteer to give back to the ocean and help stop one of the largest problems it faces today – marine debris.

Unfortunately, the ocean and its wildlife are strangled in plastic. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), about 10% of the 100 million tonnes of plastic that the world produces every year ends up in the ocean. This debris poses a threat to animals, which ingest it or get entangled in it, and also to people who eat the fish contaminated by the chemicals that the debris releases.

People are the sole cause of this problem, but luckily, that means that people have the power to be the solution! Every single one of us can help our ocean by fighting marine debris through simple things like reducing, reusing, and recycling. So, on World Ocean Day and every day, let’s celebrate our ocean by fighting marine debris!

Marine debris is everyone's problem. It is a global problem affecting 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. Marine debris comes in many forms, from a cigarette butt tossed on the beach to a 4,000-pound tangle of derelict fishing nets caught on a coral reef.

It starts with you!  You and your community can volunteer in acts of service across our nation. As ocean stewards, we have a responsibility to maintain a healthy ocean so it stays resilient to human impacts. So let’s do our part and help keep our ocean and Great Lakes free of debris by organizing a cleanup with your friends, families, and local community.

It’s as easy as this:

  1. Gather a team of people.
  2. Find a local neighborhood, park, stream, river, lake or beach that you’d like to clean.
  3. Grab a bucket and gloves to help collect trash – let’s make this cleanup zero-waste!
  4. Track your trash! Use the Marine Debris Tracker app to catalog what you’ve cleaned up.
  5. Dispose of the garbage in a public dumpster or in your trash can. Don’t forget to recycle the recyclables.

Now that you have tools, don’t stop there. The easy part about cleanups is that you can do this year-round. Start today for cleaner tomorrow and pass the message along: volunteer to keep our ocean debris-free!

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Their core mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

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Last updated: 2016-06-08 12:42

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