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Guest blog by Meghan Marrero - #NMEACleansUp

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The ocean has had a rough few weeks. Earthquakes have cracked its floor and hurricanes have drawn its waters out to sea and over the land. Isn’t it time to do something nice for our Earth’s largest feature?

As an ocean lover like you, it pains me to see the amount of marine debris everywhere I look—plastic bags suspended in the waves, bottle caps on the beach, and fishing line snarled on rocks. A few years back, I was lucky enough to travel to Midway Atoll, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As a part of the PAA program for educators, I tagged albatross chicks, snorkeled the reefs, and toured historic battlefields.

Albatross chick on Midway

But each day, the tiny island was inundated with marine debris, dumped as the waves crashed onshore. I watched an endangered monk seal pup nursing from her mother, right next to plastic laundry baskets and toys. I saw fluffy albatross chicks sitting in their nests among fishing gear and volleyballs, and sea turtles resting next to plastic water bottles.

Sea turtles and marine debris
The marine debris problem is ubiquitous. I didn’t have to travel to a remote island to observe it with my own two eyes. Whatever beach feels like home to you, salt or fresh, you will likely find cigarette butts, straws, or pieces of foam. While this problem may seem overwhelming, there are concrete steps we can take to help, even a little bit. We can reduce our single-use plastics, or refuse or reuse items instead of recycling or discarding them.

There is also something you can do right now, wherever you are. This Saturday, September 16th, is International Coastal Cleanup Day. This worldwide event is a chance to make a dent in the amount of marine debris traveling in our waterways. Join in your local cleanup, or start one yourself if you can’t find one in your neighborhood. This weekend, let’s share our successes on social media using #NMEACleansUp, demonstrating that together we can make a big impact on our ocean.

I can’t wait to see you online!

- Meghan Marrero, NMEA President-elect

Tags:  cleanup 

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NMEA 2018 Annual Conference