People working

Our Work

Since 2006, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has led national and international efforts to research, prevent, and reduce the impacts of marine debris. Its staff, which is positioned across the country, supports marine debris projects in partnership with state and local agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry. The program also spearheads national research efforts and works to change behavior in the public through outreach and education initiatives.

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Marine debris is a pervasive global problem that touches every corner of our ocean and Great Lakes. It occurs everywhere in the ocean and can be found floating at the surface of the water, down to the deepest parts of the ocean floor.

The Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC) is a multi-agency body responsible for streamlining the federal government’s efforts to address marine debris.

Students learn about debris at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
We form partnerships across the country with organizations to prevent marine debris through outreach and education initiatives.
Volunteers participate in a cleanup.
Our program supports locally driven, community-based marine debris removal projects.
Colorful microplastics in a bottle.
We team up with academia and other partners to pursue research projects that answer questions about marine debris impacts and solutions.
Volunteers survey for marine debris on a beach.
Monitoring helps us understand the amount, types, and sources of marine debris that are most common, where it accumulates, and if it is changing over time.
Marine debris after Japanese tsunami.
Our program addresses marine debris generated by natural disasters, including hurricanes and tsunamis.