Addressing the problem of marine debris requires collaboration across multiple levels of government, with partners in the private sector, and with members of the public. MARCO supports regional coordination on marine debris through the Marine Debris Work Group and related activities.
Balloon Release Reduction Campaign
In 2017 the Work Group convened for a Mid-Atlantic Regional Marine Debris Reduction Workshop to develop options for a regional strategy to discuss potential regional projects and collaborations.
In 2018 MARCO received an FY18 NOAA Marine Debris Prevention Grant to complete a project to expand on Virginia CZM’s community based social marketing campaign to reduce mass balloon releases at celebratory events.
Balloon marine debris is of immediate concern to the Atlantic Coast because of its potential deadly effects on marine wildlife through ingestion and entanglement..Balloons are unique among all the man-made litter because helium-filled balloons (and their attachments including plastic valves, disks and ribbons) are a form of litter that people actually purchase with the intent to release them into the environment.
- Balloon Debris: A Rising concern in the Mid-Atlantic Fact Sheet
- Reducing Balloon Litter Through Education and Outreach with the Joyful Send-off Campaign
Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit
In 2019 Virginia CZM hosted a Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit which the Work Group helped to organize.
Presentations from the Summit can be viewed here.
Regional Marine Debris Collaborative
With assistance from NOAA, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Marine Debris Work Group developed a Regional Marine Debris Collaborative Portal to spatially and visually track the marine debris projects both past and present in the Mid-Atlantic. The tool uses an interactive map and table to highlight the many efforts in the region to reduce marine debris, including information such as funding amount, project details, and locations of proposed, ongoing, and completed projects.