Archive for the ‘marine debris’ Category

Keep the Sea Free of Debris art contest

October 15th, 2014


The "Keep the Sea Free of Debris" art contest is on.

NOAA Marine Debris invites students from Kindergarten to 8th grade to create artwork that shows 1) how marine debris impacts the oceans (and Great Lakes) and 2) what you are doing to help prevent marine debris.

The contest officially starts today (Wed., Oct. 15). Students have until Nov. 17 to submit entries (postmark date).

The goal of the contest is to raise awareness. Winning entries will be featured in NOAA's 2016 Marine Debris calendar. To learn more about marine debris, visit

Each entry must include a piece of artwork and description, to be filled out on the entry form. The entries must be on a single sheet of 8.5-by-11-inch paper, landscape direction, using any art medium including colored pencils, crayons and paint. However, the artwork must be hand-drawn by the student. Computer graphics will not be accepted.

The entries can be mailed to:

Marine Debris Art Contest
ATTN: Asma Mahdi
NOAA Marine Debris Program
1305 East-West Highway Rm #10203
SSMC4, 10th Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Click here for complete contest rules and to download an entry form.

Marine debris art

July 31st, 2014

Honolulu artist Shannon McCarthy painted this monk seal ocean scene on five reclaimed wood panels and a border made out of invasive strawberry guava wood. The panels will be on display at the Jack Johnson concerts Aug. 1 and 2. Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Honolulu artist Shannon McCarthy created this monk seal ocean scene mosiac on five reclaimed wood panels bordered by invasive strawberry guava. The mosaic will be on display at the Jack Johnson concerts Aug. 1 and 2 at Waikiki Shell. Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.


So, what do you do with all of that plastic debris — small pieces of broken-down plastics, or microplastics — cleaned from the beach?

For Honolulu artist and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii volunteer, Shannon McCarthy, the answer is, get creative and make art.

She created a Hawaiian monk seal ocean scene (two adult monk seals, one pup) on the North Shore on five wooden panels constructed out of reclaimed wood with a border of invasive strawberry guava wood. The mosaic was first unveiled at a beach cleanup at Point Panic (Kakaako) in June, then went on display at Honolulu Hale. It will be up at the Jack Johnson concert at Waikiki Shell Aug. 1 and 2. 

The microplastics were collected using rudimentary sand sifters, then separated and glued to the panels. Students from Kainalu Elementary, St. John Vianney, St. Louis School,  St. Anthony, Kahaluu Elementary and members of Girl Scouts Troop 840 all pitched in on the artwork, as well as helped with beach cleanups over the past three months, collecting the marine debris.

"The mosaics are inspired by the need to spread awareness of plastics and marine debris in all the oceans," said McCarthy, "how to reduce or eliminate our daily impact on it, and how drastically beautiful Hawaii and its inhabitants are being affected by this pollution."

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii's first Ultimate Sand Sifter Challenge, meanwhile, is still on. The contest encourages Oahu residents to create and build sand sifters to efficiently remove the microplastics from the sand on the beach.

"The hope is that this mural will directly inspire people to pay attention to the overwhelming amount of marine debris affecting our coastlines," said SCH executive director Kahi Pacarro. "Our Sand Sifter Challenge is meant to foster out-of-the-box thinking, entrepreneurial spirit and teamwork to tackle a growing problem that, if not addressed, will lead to an unsustainable future for Hawaii's coastlines."

The sand sifters must be human powered and built for under $300. The winning team wins a $2,500 cash prize plus an additional $2,500 to replicate five sand sifters. Submissions for the contest are due Sept. 26. Visit to learn more.


Conservation commitments

July 18th, 2014

Kai ceremony celebrating commitments to the environment by Maui Nui Makai Network. Photo by Sean Marrs.

Kai ceremony combining ocean waters celebrating commitments to the environment by Maui Nui Makai Network. Photo by Sean Marrs.

The Hokule‘a Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage received new commitments by members of the Maui Nui Makai Network on Wednesday, July 16.

In a kai ceremony at noon, six communities of the newly formed Maui Nui Makai Network pledged new commitments to members of the voyage at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. The ceremony followed an hour-long presentation by members at the 2014 annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference.

Kahu Sam Ohu Gon III combined ocean waters from each site as a symbol of shared commitments to community-based management of the six communities that make up an ahupua‘a on Maui. These commitments were recorded in a book that will be carried on board the Hokule‘a, which are to be completed by the voyage's conclusion in 2017.

Among the Network's commitments to one another:

>> Protect and restore healthy ecosystems

>> Share and learn from their diverse experiences

>> Help one another malama (care for) their areas

>> Perpetuate Hawaiian values, including kuleana

"We are a group of like-minded people who have shared aspirations to care for our marine resources," said Ekolu Lindsey of Palanui Hiu, current chair for the network. "The ocean is the foundation of our island culture and we need it to be healthy and sustainable. We are working toward sustainable reefs and fish for our future."

Members of the Network currently include: Kipahulu ‘Ohana and Na Mamo O Mu‘olea in east Maui; Wailuku Ahupua‘a Community Managed Makai Area in central Maui; Palanui Hiu in Lahaina; Hui Maalalama O Mo‘omomomi in Molokai; and Maunalei Ahupua‘a Community Managed Makai Area in Lanai.

Members of the Maui Nui Makai Network with Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson. Photo by Sean Marrs.

Members of the Maui Nui Makai Network with Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson, fourth from left, and Kahu Sam Ohu Gon III, right. Photo by Sean Marrs.

Sandy Beach cleanup Saturday

July 13th, 2014

Volunteers use a makeshift sand sifter to sift out microplastics at Sandy's Beach. The next beach cleanup is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 19. Photo courtesy RevoluSun.

Volunteers use a makeshift sand sifter to sift out microplastics at Sandys. The next beach cleanup is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 19. Photo courtesy RevoluSun.

RevoluSun once again invites the public to participate in what's become an annual tradition since opening its doors for business in 2009 — a beach cleanup at Sandys on Saturday, July 19. At that first cleanup in 2009, volunteers removed 900 pounds of trash from the Sandy Beach Park shoreline.

The solar company is partnering with the Surfrider Foundation's Oahu Chapter for the fifth cleanup, which takes place from 10 a.m. to noon. on Saturday. RevoluSun is offering volunteers a commemorative T-shirt and free lunch.

The mobile sand-sifter developed by local contractor Jason Tucker Hills, which is designed to separate out micro-plastics, will be back again. Last year, volunteers collected more than 400 pounds of small debris at Sandys. The tally also included more than 2,000 cigarette butts, almost 600 bottle caps and more than 300 drink cans and bottles and single-use food containers — all within 90 minutes. .

Sand Sifter Challenge

July 3rd, 2014


Got creative design and build talents?

Then get ready for the first Ultimate Sand Sifter Challenge by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kupu. Both organizations are challenging contestants to design the ultimate sand sifter to remove microplastics from Hawaii's beaches. Microplastics, tiny pieces of broken-down plastic that wash ashore from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, are a hazard to marine animals that consume them.

If you've ever visited any windward Oahu beach, look down and what you may think are colorful shells are actually tiny pieces of plastic.

Deadline for online submissions is due Sept. 26.

Register with your name, affiliation, email, a phone number and then, simply, a drawing and description of your sifter design. The sifter must be human-powered (using no gas or fossil fuels) and should be designed and constructed for under $300, with an emphasis on reused, recycled and sustainable materials.

"Marine debris is going to continue washing ashore until we as global citizens drastically reduce our use of unnecessary plastics," said executive director Kahi Pacarro. "Until that time, in order for our beaches to remain the nicest in the world,  the public will need to #cleanyobeach! Sand sifters make our work easier and will promote newer ideas to make our work more efficient and educational."

Last summer, RevoluSun donated a sandsifter for a beach cleanup at Sandy's Beach. Check out their design.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii will announce the designs that have been green lighted Oct. 3. Participating individuals then have until Nov. 14 to build their sand sifters. The final competition will be held Nov. 15 at Kailua Beach Park. Winner gets $2,500 plus an additional $2,500 to build their sand sifter for partner organizations that clean Oahu's coastlines.

Can you design and build a sand sifter to separate out microplastics? Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Can you design and build a sand sifter to separate out microplastics? Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Ocean trash: a people problem

May 21st, 2014


The tally from the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is in, and no surprise that cigarette butts still top the list of the Top 10 items collected. Candy wrappers came in second, followed by plastic beverage bottles and plastic bottle caps.

Volunteers across the globe picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup in September , the most ever collected in the event's history, according to a report released today (May 21, 2014). The new total, according to the Ocean Conservancy, is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines, in the ocean and waterways around the globe.

The Conservancy, while celebrating the volunteer effort, is also using this occasion to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping the trash that ends up in the ocean at its many sources.

"Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue," said Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy's president and CEO. "At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem — perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on."

The full trash index is available online.

To put it in another perspective:

>> Trash collected by volunteers would fill roughly 38 Olympic size swimming pools, or weigh about the same as 823 male African elephants.

>> The amount of fishing line collected would go up and over Mt. Everest five times.

>> The number of bottle caps found would carpet three football fields, laid side by side.

>> There were enough items found to furnish an entire studio apartment, including an air conditioner, sink, fridge, stove,  microwave, washing machine, couch, tables and chairs, TV set, coffee table, rug, curtains and mattresses!

>> There were also most of the items needed for a wedding, as well as items necessary for caring for a baby. More unusual items included a plastic eyeball, 1904 typewriter, blonde wig and trampoline.

What you can do? Here are 10 Things You Can Do to help keep the seas trash-free:


Papahanaumokuakea: Marine debris now viewable

January 31st, 2014

A Hawaiian monk seal basking in the sun, as well as marine debris, can now be viewed on Google Maps. Photo by NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.

A Hawaiian monk seal basking in the sun can be viewed as part of Google Maps. Photo by NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.

Alas, now we can see marine debris at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, up close, without setting foot on shore (which you need permission from the government to do).

Google Maps has now captured the first 360-degree panoramic images from five new locations within the marine monument, which are sometimes referred to as the Northwestern Hawaiian islands. The announcement was actually made earlier this month, at the start of the new year.

View Larger Map

You can virtually visit Tern Island and East Island at the French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

It's the link to Laysan Island that gives you a peek of a Hawaiian monk seal (hello) plus the marine debris, pieces of broken down plastic that you can see scattered along the sand and vegetation. One image captures what looks like a plastic, laundry basket – now how did that get washed ashore of one of the isolated islands on Earth?

You also get a glimpse of birds, mostly on the Tern Island link, and a Hawaiian sea turtle at the Pearl and Hermes Atoll link.

RevoluSun, Surfrider clear 400 lbs at Sandy's

July 17th, 2013

RevoluSun donated this sandsifter to help sort out plastic marine debris from the shores of Sandy Beach on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

RevoluSun donated this sandsifter to help sort out plastic marine debris from the shores of Sandy Beach on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Volunteers from solar company RevoluSun and the Surfrider Foundation cleared more than 400 pounds of marine debris and litter at Sandy Beach on Saturday (July 13).

While most people focus on large litter at beach cleanups, looking for cans, bottles and plastic bags left behind, this cleanup focused on small trash and microplastics that are more difficult to pick up.

Within an hour and a half, volunteers picked up more than 2,000 cigarette butts, 300 beverage containers and single-use food containers, along with plastic bags, polystyrene packaging, fishing nets/ropes, batteries, drug paraphernalia, condoms (yuck!) and more.

This year, RevoluSun also donated a mobile sand-sifter developed by local contractor Jason Tucker Hills (cool!). It's designed to clean sand by pulling out microplastics or plastic debris — small plastic particles generated from industrial pellets used to manufacture plastic products as well as plastic broken down from plastic products left from both land-based and ocean-based litter.

It was the fourth year in a row that RevoluSun partnered with the Surfrider Foundation's Oahu Chapter for the annual Sandy Beach cleanup.

July: Beach CLEANUPs

June 29th, 2013

Several beach cleanups are planned for the month of July. After the crowds hit the beach for the 4th of July, there's definitely a need for volunteers to help sweep all the litter left behind by the revelry.

Mark your calendars:
>> 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 6. For the Love is holding a beach cleanup at Ala Moana Beach Park. The group, which is teaming up with a non-profit named Love Your Coast, plans to help clean up the extra litter left behind form 4th of July celebrations. Volunteers are welcome, but instead of purchasing garbage bags and gloves, For the Love asks volunteers to bring their own bags and their own reusable garden gloves. Check in is at 10 a.m. at the oceanside of McCoy Pavilion, with lunch to be provided at 12:30 p.m., along with a mermaid performance and yoga cool down session later in the afternoon. A grand prize will be awarded for the most pounds collected.

>> 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday, July 6, Kailua Bay Cleanup with Plastic Free Kailua and 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, at Kailua  Beach Park (check in at tent across from Buzz's, free hot dogs). Visit Plastic Free Kailua's Facebook page for updates.

>> 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, July 11, Pounders Beach in Laie beach cleanup. Warner Bros., along with RealD, is encouraging people to participate in this "Pacific Rim" cleanup effort taking place concurrently at seven other coastal cities. The first 100 volunteers to show up get tickets to the movie on opening weekend, special T-shirts made of recycled materials and other prizes.

>> 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 13 at Sandy Beach. RevoluSun, in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, hosts its beach cleanup at Sandy's, followed by lunch (provided by RevoluSun) and a free RevoluSun T-shirt for volunteers.

>> 10 a.m. to noon or later on Saturday, July 27: Adopt-A-Beach Hawaii holds its monthly beach cleanup on the North Shore. Meeting spot is at Chun's Reef in Haleiwa, 61-529 Kamehameha Highway. Volunteers are provided with trash bags, water and gloves. Debris is documented for NOAA and the Ocean Conservancy.

Volunteers help RevoluSun and Surfrider with its annual Sandy Beach cleanup lat year. Courtesy photo.

Volunteers help RevoluSun and Surfrider with its annual Sandy Beach cleanup. Courtesy photo.

POPS, Plastic and Hawaii's Marine Life

April 1st, 2013

These eaten plastic bottles were collected from Hawaii's shoreline. Photo courtesy of B.E.A.C.H.

These eaten plastic bottles were collected from Hawaii's shoreline. Photo courtesy of B.E.A.C.H.

The Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai‘i and Ecology Club at the University of Hawaii at Manoa present "POPS, Plastic and Hawaii's Marine Life," a series of free, public lectures in April. The lectures will take place every Monday at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Architecture auditorium.

>> 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 8: B.E.A.C.H. co-founder Suzanne Frazer speaks about plastic in the environment and how it is harmful to our health and marine life. Learn about the chemicals in plastic.

>> 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 15: Jessica Lopez, field research supervisor for the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, discusses threats faced by the endangered monk seals, including her recent research into POPS (persistent organic pollutants).

>> 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, April 22: Dr. Brenda Jensen discusses the diversity and unique ecology of the whales and dolphins found in Hawaii, as well as her team's recent finding measuring POPs and marine debris in marine mammals.

>> 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, April 29: Dr. Magnus Engwall presents: "Assessing the Toxicity of Plastic Marine Debris & Harm to Marine Life." Dr. Engwall will speak about his research on POPs and what he's found in his investigation of plastic marine debris from Hawaii's beaches.