On the Shore

Picking up trash on a beach.
Cleaning up the beach and monitoring the debris you find can make a big difference when it comes to the problem of marine debris. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Sand, surf, sun, and fun - these are just some reasons you love going to the shore. Unfortunately, marine debris can trash your day at the beach. In addition to being unsightly, debris like glass or metal can be dangerous for beachgoers. Here are some steps that you can take to help keep our ocean, waterways, and beaches free of debris:

  • Think about the materials and packaging you might be taking to the beach. Choose reusable items and use fewer disposable ones.
  • Keep track of your items and the incoming tide to make sure your flip flops, beach toys and other items don’t mistakenly flow out to sea!
  • Leave behind only footprints. Make sure you leave with all the containers, toys, and beach chairs you came with. If you do have any trash, dispose of it in the proper receptacle or take it home to dispose of in your own bin. Be sure to avoid putting trash in a receptacle that is overflowing!
  • Serve as an example to others. Get involved in cleanups in your area and encourage others to help keep our beaches and ocean clean.

If you go to the beach frequently, or just want to help document debris in your community, use the Marine Debris Tracker App and contribute to a global dataset using your phone. Knowing more about the different types of debris found on a beach, or even on your street, is the first step towards preventing it.

Looking for a bigger commitment? You can get more involved in the science of monitoring debris by becoming a volunteer with the Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP). Each passionate and dedicated partner in the MDMAP network selects a nearby shoreline monitoring site that they return to monthly to conduct surveys and submit meaningful data to NOAA’s MDMAP Database.