The NOAA Marine Debris Program Awards Funding to 11 New Projects to Prevent Marine Debris

Students participating in an educational marine debris art activity. The students are in a circle around a plastic tarp, painting marine debris messages on pieces of wood.
Students paint marine debris messages on signs (Photo: Hawaii Wildlife Fund)

After an intensive evaluation process, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce the 11 recipients of our 2018 prevention awards, totaling $1.0 million of funding toward marine debris prevention efforts. Prevention is the ultimate solution to marine debris. In order to tackle this pervasive problem, we must stop it at its source. The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers a nationwide competitive funding opportunity to support projects that focus on preventing marine debris through behavior change, implementing new marine debris reduction and prevention activities, and conducting public outreach and education in their communities. These projects will educate the public to encourage behaviors that reduce marine debris in coastal communities throughout the United States.

This year's funded projects are:

Surfrider Foundation, Inc. ($59,093) will utilize their existing network in Oregon to carry out a campaign that aims to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic. This project addresses three actions identified by Oregon stakeholders in the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan.

Eckerd College, Inc. ($115,124) will reduce consumption of single-use plastics across the Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg, Florida by educating students on marine debris, providing access to alternatives to common debris items, and work with the college administration to institute campus-wide initiatives.

Coastal States Stewardship Foundation ($145,607) will build on a pilot program to implement their Joyful Send-off community-based social marketing campaign. The project will target weddings and other celebratory events to change behaviors related to balloon releases in the Mid-Atlantic.

University of North Carolina at Wilmington ($131,101) will connect students to the issue of marine debris through sea turtles in North Carolina. Students will perform simulated dissections of sea turtles in their classrooms, learn to identify marine debris items, and earn Turtle Trash Collectors badges.

The Ohio State University ($49,964) will educate tourists visiting the island of Put-in-Bay on the impacts of cigarettes, straws, and single-use beverage containers on Lake Erie in Ohio. Visitors will be reached on ferries, shuttles, taxis, and at port terminals, as well as at well-known tourist sites.

Alice Ferguson Foundation Inc. ($50,000) will build on successes in a previous community-based social marketing campaigns to reduce littering behaviors among high school students in Prince George’s County, Maryland. As part of the project, students will lead community cleanups, pilot their own litter prevention strategies, and mentor younger students.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies ($99,998) will carry out zero waste campaigns with schools, businesses, and residents focused on preventing marine debris in Alaska. The project will also work with students to explore solutions to the disposal of plastics in rural communities where recycling is not available.

Mississippi State University ($98,552) will work with restaurants in the five Gulf Coast states to reduce the use of single-use plastic, plastic foam, and plastic lined food and beverage containers at restaurants. The project will begin by building a pilot program in Mississippi and Alabama, resulting in long term behavior changes across the Gulf Coast.

University System of New Hampshire (Keene State) ($72,604) will reduce litter from cigarettes at Keene State College in New Hampshire. The project will reach college smokers through humorous video messages aimed at changing their attitudes and behaviors.

Surfrider Foundation, Inc. ($150,105) will reduce the amount of cigarette butt debris entering the San Francisco Bay estuary by installing cigarette butt receptacles, conducting community-based campaigns, distributing pocket ashtrays, conducting cleanups, and monitoring smoker behaviors through surveys.

Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources ($50,000) will install water bottle filling stations and carry out beach cleanups within 16 state parks on Hawai'i, Kauai, Maui, and O'ahu.