Marine debris after Japanese tsunami.

Emergency Response

Marine debris is an everyday problem, but natural disasters have the potential to make it worse. Hurricanes and tropical storms, tsunamis, floods, and landslides that impact U.S. coasts can be an overwhelming source of marine debris. High winds, storm surges, and heavy rains drag household products and hazardous waste, construction debris into the surrounding waters. Natural disasters can also create abandoned and derelict vessels. This debris can be a hazard to navigation, damage habitat, and pose pollution threats. To mitigate these impacts, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is facilitating response planning efforts in coastal states.

Marine Debris Emergency Response Guides

Through a highly collaborative process with local, state, and federal agencies, response guidance documents are being developed, aimed at improving preparedness and facilitating a coordinated, well-managed, and immediate response to acute waterway debris incidents. These efforts work to outline existing response structures at the local, state, and federal levels, capturing all relevant responsibilities and existing procedures into one guidance document for easy reference. The process first includes the development of the guidance document, followed by drills to test response effectiveness, and finally, supporting the integration of this information into other existing plans.

The 2018 hurricane and typhoon seasons inflicted severe damage to communities and coastal resources across North Carolina, Florida, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons inflicted severe damage to communities and coastal resources across the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, leaving a swath of destruction and large amounts of debris in coastal areas.
The 2017 hurricanes season inflicted severe damage to communities and coastal resources over large areas of the Caribbean, Southeast and Texas, leaving large amounts of debris in the coastal zones of the affected states and territories.
In 2012, Sandy inflicted severe damage to communities and coastal resources in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, leaving a swath of destruction and large amounts of marine debris.

NOAA responds to marine debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan with federal, state, and local partners.

NOAA led efforts to map and survey marine debris following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Prepare for and respond to disasters with emergency response guides that improve preparedness and facilitate a coordinated, well-managed, and immediate response to acute waterway debris incidents.
Prepare for and respond to disasters with emergency response guides that improve preparedness and facilitate a coordinated, well-managed, and immediate response to acute waterway debris incidents.
Last updated Mon, 03/25/2024 - 12:50 pm EDT