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Marine debris threatens oceans and coasts; marine mammals, fish, and seabirds; human health and safety; and navigation.


NOAA Marine Debris Program

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Green sea turtle caught in a derelict fishing net.
A green sea turtle is caught in a derelict fishing net in Hawaii. Sea turtles breathe at the surface, so if they get entangled and cannot escape, they drown.

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 also comes in many forms, from a cigarette butt to a 4,000-pound derelict fishing net.

Marine debris is 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.

Marine debris is a problem we can solve together. Although marine debris is found worldwide, we can all help with the smallest actions. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and participate in local beach or stream cleanups. If we each do a little, together we can make a big difference. 






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