The NC Marine Debris Symposium crew is offering up a limited number of scholarships this year to cover registrations costs for currently enrolled college students. Scholarship applications are available upon request from now until the end of July. Submit your request today! 2016 NC Marine Debris Symposium
Marine debris is a problem that continues to grow. Our waterways and oceans are constantly polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from polystyrene trays and plastic bags to derelict fishing equipment and abandoned boats.
Marine life, such as several Fish species, Whales, Sharks, Sea Turtles, and Birds have been known to ingest marine debris or become entangled in marine debris, which may lead to injury, intestinal blockage, and death. Marine debris is an Eastern North Carolina concern not only because of the threats to our native wildlife, our ecosystem and our own health, but it also washes up on beaches and shorelines degrading the environment, and effecting our local economy and tourism.
Local cooperation and regional partnership is needed to create public awareness while developing ways to decrease the amount of debris going into the waterways as well as cleaning up the debris found in our waterways and on our shores.
We hope that this Symposium will create local cooperation and regional partnership by providing a forum for the exchange of information on recent developments, program ideas, and best management practices for marine debris prevention, education, and removal.
Register here: 2016 Registration for the NCMDS in Wrightsville Beach, NC
Get ready for ONE awesome day of FUN for the entire family at the Tenth Annual Earth and Surf Fest on Saturday, July 9th in North Topsail Beach.
This rad waste-free eco awareness event showcases many of the splendors that there is to enjoy in our coastal community environment.
Things get kicked off at 7am with registration for the Fun, Sun, and 5K Run on the beach, a one mile fun run, and the On Shore Surf Shop surf contest.
A free beach yoga session is offered by Keep Onslow Beautiful Committee member and certified yoga instructor, Christina Lewis, at 10am. Bring a mat or towel and get ready to sweat and breathe in the sweet salty ocean air. Don’t forget your refillable/reusable water bottle. Refilling stations will be located at the event.
Live music begins in the morning and continues throughout the day. We will also have a live broadcast with fav local DJ, Vaughn, from the morning show at Modern Rock 98.7/.
Local musician, artist, and long time beach sweeper, Justina will get things started with an acoustic solo act at the bathhouse stage area. Headliners are local surf music jam rockers, Arise Awake who will get us through the mid day.
Later that afternoon, you get the chance to show your talents with a 2 hour open mic gig hosted by Wes Rider. Be sure to bring a guitar, drums, or whatever you need to showcase your talents. Open mic jam session begins at 3pm and there will be a sign up form available at the bathhouse stage area starting at 2:30pm.
A traditional beach cleanup will be held throughout the day with the crew at the Plastic Ocean Project. Prizes will be given, you can learn how to participate in a fun citizen science program, and you also have the chance to earn SAT credit hours (for high school volunteers).
This is a waste-free event so place make sure to carpool, bring your own reusable water bottle, and use the recycle and compost bins properly. Pack in and pack out any waste you bring that is not compostable or recyclable, please. There will be a healthy and waste-free food truck on site for all your munching needs throughout the day.
Healthy and eco friendly vendors and environmental education booths include: Keep Onslow Beautiful, Plastic Ocean Project, Spring Locker, White Oak New River Association, NC Coastal Federation, Onslow Co Museum, NC CMAST and NC Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, Arbonne, Your Bottle Means Jobs, Sonoco Recycling, Loggerhead Designs, Oceana, Going Green, Beauty Counter, On Shore Surf Shop,Forkful Food Truck, Sparkling ICE, and more…
Thank you so much to our sponsors: KIXX Outfitters, On Shore Surf Shop, Only in Onslow, Sonoco Recycling, Spring Locker, Sparkling ICE, Keep Onslow Beautiful, Onslow County Solid Waste Department, Onslow County Parks and Recreation, Nixon, Dragon, Loggerhead Designs, Hyperflex Wetsuits, …lost, Global Surf Industries, Savage Surfboards, Sanuk, Prolite, Go Pro, Clean Energy Events, and Sun Bum.
Be sure to check out http://www.earthandsurffest.com for registration, location with a map, and event info.
I learned early last year that Guyana would be banning styrofoam (polystyrene) containers starting in 2016 and was super stoked to hear the news, especially considering that I knew I would be traveling there as part of eXXpedition Amazon. http://exxpedition.com/amazon-2015/
Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency spearheaded the ban and newly elected government officials have been supportive of the ban since their focus on improving both solid waste infrastructure and litter control in the country.
While staying in Guyana this past December, I noticed that the capital city, Georgetown, had noticeable improvements in disposal options and litter control compared to other areas of the country. After speaking with several locals in Georgetown and Bartica, I learned that the efforts had just begun within the last year and that within just 3 months, they had noticed a significant improvement in roadside litter in the Georgetown area. I also learned that efforts to expand infrastructure and grassroots cleanup programs to other areas of the country were in the works, but that it would take time.
While I was in Bartica, the local tradition of disposing of waste along the river bank was still common practice (see images below). The areas under piers and along the river looked like old school dumps and the amount of plastic being disposed of on the water’s edge was overwhelming. In other areas near Bartica (up river from Georgetown), the common practice of waste disposal included the open burning of trash, while in Georgetown there was noticeable trash collection services being provided and roadside cleanups taking place.
Bartica, Guyana December 2015
According to several sources in Georgetown, the new government that took office last year has a huge focus on community environment improvement and have taken steps to help local organizations cleanup and greenup Guyana. A cab driver that I spoke to in December went so far as to say that there would be a tax increase to improve infrastructure, but that it was well worth it to see the streets clean of debris and that the major improvements on solid waste collection and management would also cut down on disease and make the area more attractive for everyone.
The news on the ban is that as of April 1, 2016, the Styrofoam ban came into place and that the importation of these materials are now no longer allowed in Guyana. This is great news for Guyana being able to reduce the waste going into landfills since they do not have the means to recycle it and the ban will also help them focus on new recycle programs that are in the works there.
The country’s Ministry of Finance is also considering tax incentives for importers that bring in alternatives to polystyrene products, like compostable, recyclable, or reusable containers. This and efforts such as this could potentially help boost more sustainable companies and thus bring the cost of alternatives down on a global scale.
Guyana is setting an example that I hope others follow. Government officials in Guyana are aware of the problems with single-use plastics that do not biodegrade and they are doing something about it. With the news of the overwhelming global crisis of marine debris, Guyana is hearing the message and focusing on making improvements that their citizens can be proud of.
East Carteret High School’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class will be presenting tomorrow on the Marine Debris work they’ve been doing with the Duke Marine Lab this semester.
During the past year, the class has toured the Duke Marine Lab drone facility and received hands-on experience in the operation of “autonomous fixed wing and multicopter” platforms in use for supporting marine science studies and research.
The AP class also had the opportunity to analyze large files of aerial multi-spectral, high-resolution images, and orthomosaics with a focus on marine debris. This opportunity offers valuable skills and experience that also engages them in improving our community environment.
The class also traveled to Carrot Island in Beaufort, also known as the Rachel Carson Reserve, which is a National Estuarine Research Reserve right across Taylor’s Creek from Front Street, to “ground-truth” the data they had analyzed.
To close-the-loop on the work they had been doing at the drone facility, and tracking marine debris from the air, the class visited the same site this past Monday to remove the marine debris that they had analyzed; eight students collected over ten bags of debris in about an hour. Materials were separated to make sure recyclables were captured. Since this island is not inhabited, it is clear that the debris is both washing up and also littered by reserve visitors.
The presentation, tomorrow at ECHS, will be the culmination of this marine debris research using drones. Marine Debris specialists, researchers, removal coordinators, and stakeholders will be present to learn from the students and offer insight on how we move forward to collaborate and continue the effort to study, remove, and reduce marine debris here in North Carolina.
More to come…
Plans for the 2016 NCMDS are well underway at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach, NC.
Find out all the details, updates, get a copy of the draft agenda, and get your registration in here:
For more information about the NCMDS, contact RidTheSeaOfMarineDebris@gmail.com
See you in September,
The National Estuarine Research Reserve, Keep Onslow Beautiful, Plastic Ocean Project, On Shore Surf Shop, and others partnered this past weekend for a Paddle Trash Fishing Tournament along the banks of Permuda Island, a local estuarine reserve site in North Topsail Beach, NC. (see the news report link here:
Want to join in on the next cleanup? Stay tuned right here for updates on regional cleanups and more…
Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium
BEACH KEEPERS BEACH CLEAN-UP
FRIDAY MAY, 13
Help keep the Crystal Coast pristine on Friday, May 13 during a public Beach Keepers beach clean-up event. Spend the day removing marine debris from Shackleford Banks with Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority, Island Express Ferries and the Aquarium. Advance registration is required and participants need to provide their own food, reusable water bottles, and other beach necessities. This free event begins at 7:30 a.m. in Beaufort and will last approximately seven hours, including transportation to and from Shackleford Banks. For those on Instagram, the event will also include an InstaMeet – an opportunity for Instagrammers to come together, share photos, and tell stories about the day.
Help keep the Crystal Coast pristine on Friday, May 13, in a public Beach Keepers clean-up on Shackleford Banks. Join us at 600 Front Street, Beaufort, and spend the day removing marine debris from Shackleford Banks. For those on Instagram, the event will also include an InstaMeet. This is a great project for families or groups with children and is appropriate for anyone ages 8 and up. Be prepared to get wet and dirty!
What to Bring:
Lunch and Reusable water bottle
Ages 8 and up, maximum 60 participants
This activity is free