NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest
It's time again for the NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest, which opened on Tuesday, Oct. 20. All students from Kindergarten through 8th grade from U.S. states and territories are eligible to participate.
The deadline for entries (form here) is Nov. 30. Winners will be featured in the 2017 Marine Debris Calendar.
The phrase "marine debris" sometimes draws a blank stare — it's a formal name for basically, trash, or things that don't belong in the ocean. Examples include plastic wrap, plastic forks and spoons, plastic toys, metals takeout lunch waste, pieces of rope, plastic bags, paper napkins, derelict fishing gear and other items, which are prevalent from the ocean floor to the surface.
The five most common items tallied by the International Coastal Cleanup: plastic cigarette butts, plastic food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws.
NOAA defines it 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. It is a global problem, and it is an everyday problem. There is no part of the world left untouched by debris and its impacts. Marine debris is a threat to our environment, navigation safety, the economy and human health."
Where does it come from? Basically, humans (visiting the beach, leaving litter by sewers and throwing trash off of fishing boats). But every person has the power and ability to prevent it. Preventing the trash from entering the ocean in the first place is a good step.
Watch this video for an introduction to marine debris, where it comes from and solutions:
Here's a look at winners from 2015, which were just announced for 2016 calendar. A finalist from Hawaii has been chosen since the contest started in 2010, originally in the isles, before it expanded nationwide.