underwater photo looking up through marine debris floating on the surface.

Discover Marine Debris

Our oceans are filled with items that do not belong there. Huge amounts of consumer plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the marine environment every day, making marine debris one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world's ocean and waterways.

Discover more about the different types of marine debris, where it comes from, and the ways it impacts wildlife, habitats, and people. Get answers about garbage patches, and learn how you can make a difference and help solve the marine debris problem, whether you live on the coast, or hundreds of miles away!

Plastic bottles, fishing line, cigarette butts, and other assorted marine debris.
Want to know more about marine debris? Learn more about the issue and some of the debris we commonly find.
Pastic debris and trash mixed in with natural debris along a river shoreline.
Marine debris is a global issue and can come from many different places and activities. Learn about the different sources of marine debris.
A crab tangled in a yellow derelict fishing net.
Learn how marine debris causes problems for wildlife, their habitats, and people.
Workers lift heavy debris from beach.
Learn how you can help solve the marine debris problem.
Oversimplified graphic of "garbage patches" in the North Pacific Ocean.

Learn more about what garbage patches are, their impacts on the ocean, and what we can do about them. 

Trash Talk

This 15-minute special feature introduces the many types of marine debris and how you can prevent some of the surprising and sneaky ways that trash flows into our rivers and the ocean.

Fragments of plastic on a beach.

What do we know about how long it takes for plastics and other marine debris to degrade?