Our ocean is filled with items that don’t belong there. From our everyday food wrappers, plastic bottles, and cigarettes to large and damaging derelict fishing nets and abandoned and derelict vessels, marine debris is a global problem that touches every corner of our ocean and Great Lakes. Although cleaning up marine debris is a helpful way to address the problem, the best way to keep marine debris out of our environment is by preventing it.
By Leah Odeneal, Office of Response and Restoration
There are many ways to prepare for hurricanes as individuals, organizations, and as communities. Hurricanes pose threats from storm surge, inland flooding, wind damage, and even tornadoes. These impacts also lead to a lesser known but dangerous threat—natural and man-made marine debris.
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration
When it comes to keeping waterways clean, we all have a part to play. Some of the most simple steps can take place in your own backyard. Our communities, including our individual homes, are part of an interconnected watershed. This means that the rain that falls onto your house and lawn flows through communities. From there they flow into creeks, rivers, and even into lakes or oceans.
By Vicki Loe, Doug Helton, and Lisa Symons, Office of Response and Restoration
At about 1:30 a.m.on Tuesday, May 5, 1942, the American Steam Tanker Munger T. Ball, en route to Norfolk, Virginia, from Port Arthur, Texas, with a cargo of 65,000 gallons of gasoline was hit twice by torpedoes and machine gun fire from the German U-507 about 80 miles northwest of Key West, Florida. The first hit caused the tanker to burst into flames, preventing the crews’ ability to launch lifeboats, leaving 30 dead and four survivors who were able to swim away from the burning vessel and be rescued four hours later. The vessel sank within 15 minutes of the second hit.
By Donna L. Roberts and Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration
The International Coastal Cleanup is coming up on Sept. 18, 2021, when volunteers around the world will be cleaning beaches and shorelines of the debris that has accumulated there. In addition to these organized events, there are also many people who generously take it upon themselves to pick up trash when they visit beaches or shorelines. So, what do these kind volunteers and beach-goers find? Lots of cigarette butts, food wrappers, and single-use water bottles, but also, some weird and interesting things.