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What is marine debris?

Question

What is marine debris?

Answer

Our oceans are filled with items that do not belong there. Huge amounts of consumer plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the marine environment every day, making marine debris one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world's oceans and waterways.

Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes. Learn more about marine debris and find out how to prevent it.

NOAA divers from the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center diving unit have been working since 1996 to remove marine debris, specifically derelict fishing gear, from the Hawaiian Archipelago. Every year they set out on the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai to survey vast swaths of coast line and coral habitat to collect tons of the derelict fishing gear. Read more about why this is important and what they have collected so far on the NOAA Fisheries website.

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You are here: https://www.omao.noaa.gov/connect/faq/what-marine-debris
Reviewed: February 1, 2016. Contact us with page issues.

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