Categorized | Environment

Nation’s first marine debris action plan implemented in Hawaii


NOAA and several partners in Hawaii announced a comprehensive long-term plan to actively assess and remove plastics, derelict fishing gear, and other human sources of marine debris from coastal waters and coral reefs along the island chain.

The plan, a first of its kind for the nation, will be instrumental in protecting the state’s coastal communities and marine life from the thousands of pounds of marine debris that wash ashore each year.

“For too long marine debris has marred the natural beauty of our ocean and threatened our marine ecosystem,” Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said. “I have long championed a coordinated effort to mitigate the many tons of debris that suffocate our coral, kill our fish and aquatic mammals and blanket our coastlines. This is a critical issue for our state and I am proud that Hawaii is taking the lead in finding a solution to this global problem.”

For the last two years, numerous governmental, non-governmental, academic, industry, and private business partners from across the state worked alongside NOAA’s Marine Debris Program to develop the Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan.

Building on significant ongoing and past marine debris community efforts, the plan establishes a comprehensive and cooperative framework for marine debris activities and projects across the state to reduce:

* the current backlog of marine debris;

* the number of abandoned and derelict vessels;

* land-based debris in waterways;

* fishing gear and solid waste disposal at sea.

Numerous strategies and activities fall under each of these goal areas, many of them already underway by Hawaii’s marine debris partners.

These include debris removal efforts, emergency response, prevention and outreach campaigns as well as increasing research and technology development. Progress will be tracked and measured for each of these areas.

“We’ve all been working to address marine debris in Hawaii in our own way for years. It’s great to have a plan that we can all contribute to and work together on to tackle marine debris in Hawaii,” said Marvin Heskett, member of the Surfrider Foundation’s Oahu Chapter.

“This roll-out demonstrates NOAA’s continued commitment to working with partners from across the state of Hawaii on the issue of marine debris,” said David M. Kennedy, acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “We are proud to take part in the development of the nation’s first marine debris action plan in Hawaii.”

The plan, supported and coordinated by NOAA with assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is available online:

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.
— Find out more:

NOAA Marine Debris Program:

Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan & Supporting Video:

2 Responses to “Nation’s first marine debris action plan implemented in Hawaii”

  1. Jeff Noleen says:

    I applaud the NOAA and Hawaiian community for stepping up and facing the problem – I’m one who believes we have to. I went to a local beach, Muir Beach, Ca. to clean up recently, I was overwhelmed with plastic big and small and an abundance of syringes, condoms , plastic tampon – just the stuff to keep you away from your beach! The sources ie: nautical disposal, illegal dumping, litterbugs etc. must be eliminated if we are ever to get a hold on this problem- I had to return the next day with bags and gloves to finish- I cleared 98% of trash on beach before dark -it was nice to look at the beautiful beach while I picked up the mess. The next storm or high tide probably re trashed the beach and every other beach and bit of coastline. It still feels good to have taken some of the litter to a proper trash receptacle and freed the beach from degradation even for a day or two.

    • Virginia S. Martin says:

      Good to know there are citizens out there like you doing the necessary work to keep our fragile beaches and ocean environment clean. My husband and I have adopted a section of beach in Sonoma County that we clean up weekly…it’s near a rivermouth. After a storm the amount of trash is quite daunting….one day we filled 10 trash bags. If every one who cared deeply about their beaches did this what a difference it could make. THANK YOU!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RSS Weather Alerts

  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.