2013 Marine Debris Cleanup Projects Announced
May 28, 2013
Director, Dave Gaudet said “We are working with local communities and organizations to remove debris from beaches that are important to them and wildlife.” He went on to explain that working with the local groups is the most efficient manner of conducting cleanups; “They know the area, the location of the debris, and they have the equipment and knowledge to conduct the cleanups.” The cleanups are expected to remove between 150,000 to 250,000 pounds of debris from approximately 100 miles of beach. This is only a fraction of the amount of debris that has accumulated on Alaska’s beaches and a very small fraction of the 44,500 miles of Alaska’s coastline.
The projects are just now beginning with the arrival of warmer weather and longer days. Some projects will occur in the fall after locals participate in other activities such as commercial and subsistence salmon fishing and subsistence hunting and gathering. Gaudet noted that the debris for the most part is not generated by the local communities and often comes from far away including the 2011 Tohoku tsunami. It is expensive to remove marine debris, even with the use of volunteers as most projects involve the use of vessels. In addition, many communities cannot accept the large volumes of debris and must ship it south to suitable disposable sites adding more expense.
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