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)

How to Help

Learn how you can help solve the marine debris problem.
At Home

Learn about simple actions you can do at home to minimize your waste.

At the Store

Learn about how you can make an impact as a consumer.

At School

Learn about ways to incorporate marine debris lessons and activities at school.

On the Water

Learn about how you can help as a boater or fisher.

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, you can count trash and debris you find on the go by using apps on your phone. You can get even more involved in the science of monitoring debris by becoming a volunteer with the NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP). Learn more about collecting marine debris data here.