Washington CoastSavers. Coastal photo courtesy of Wulff Henning, www.archiphoto.com.

Understand marine debris. Get the resources you need.

Enjoy Our Beaches And Help Keep Them Clean This Summer

As you visit our amazing beaches this summer, help keep them clean and enjoyable by leaving them better than you found them. Remove and dispose of small, nonhazardous debris you find, including plastic bottles, fishing floats, Styrofoam, pieces of lumber, crates, and other small objects.

Take special precautions if you encounter any of the following:

  • Potential Tsunami Debris: Debris from many parts of the Pacific Rim, including buoys and consumer plastics, regularly washes up on our beaches. It is difficult to tell the origin of these items without unique identifying information such as an individual or company name, serial number, or other specific information. Report anything you think might be tsunami debris to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov. Please include photographs when possible as well as the specific location of the debris.
  • Oil And Hazardous Substances: Every year, hazardous materials wash ashore Washington’s beaches such as spilled oil, drums and barrels, fuel tanks and gas containers, gas cylinders, chemical totes, and containers with unknown fluids. Do not touch these items or try to remove them. Call: (800) OILS-911.
  • Invasive Species: Like tsunami debris, invasive species can be difficult to properly identify. Report possibly invasive aquatic species to (360) 902-2700 or with this Online Invasive Species Report Form. Please include photographs and other helpful information if possible.

Washington Coast Cleanup: Thank You!

Even though the weather was wet and windy, over 1,000 volunteers participated in this year’s Washington Coast Cleanup on April 19th. Their dedication to clean the beaches of Washington State resulted in over 10 tons of debris being removed from Cape Disappointment to Cape Flattery and up the Strait of Juan de Fuca as far as Port Townsend. This effort was supported by many sponsors and partners that helped plan the event for months in advance and assisted in many ways on the day of the cleanup. The next Washington Coast Cleanup is scheduled for April 25, 2015 if you want to participate in this massive volunteer effort to keep our beaches free of debris.

Plastics in Fireworks Litter Our Environment

Today plastic components are widely found in aerial fireworks but they come at a steep environmental price. That’s something to keep in mind when shopping for holiday fireworks. Unlike cardboard and paper, the other major fireworks components, these plastics take hundreds of years to break down after one night of celebration. Never completely disintegrated, they get smaller and smaller over the years and ultimately can enter our food chain. In the competitive world of food sources, animals often mistake these small pieces of plastic as food. Each year thousands of pieces of this spent plastic cover our state. Thousands are removed from just the Long Beach Peninsula beaches in Washington State on July 5th and hundreds of them removed months later. We can all prevent this intentional litter. For more information, see http://www.plasticsinfireworks.org

EXHIBIT: Talking Trash on the Washington Coast

Washington CoastSavers has developed a traveling exhibit about marine debris on the Washington Coast titled, “Bottles, Foam and Rope: Talking Trash on the Washington Coast.” This exhibit was created with the support of the North Pacific Coast Marine Resources Committee and a grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation from the Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund. The eleven paneled exhibit reveals the diversity of ecosystems found on the outer coast and who is responsible for managing them. In addition, it discusses the hazards of marine debris and what people can do to reduce the hazards of it.

The exhibit is on display at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park from May through June. It will travel to multiple coastal venues over the next year, including such sites as Peninsula College in Forks and the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles.


Learn about marine debris. Marine debris is trash that somehow ends up in the ocean. Recognize this plastic water bottle? It could be the one you threw away several months ago - not at the beach, but at your home! It just blew out of your garbage, landed in a nearby waterway, and floated out to the coast. Now it's degrading and poisoning our coastal wildlife and releasing its toxins into the food chain.

Or maybe a commercial fishing boat lost some gear in one of our notorius winter storms. Now it's floating around out there, damaging our coastal fisheries, and pointlessly killing everything that gets caught.

No matter where you live or what kind of work you do, marine debris is your problem. Learn more and use our resources today.

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