A Gift from NOAA? - Oceana USA
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December 23, 2008

A Gift from NOAA?

Come, sit by the fire and I’ll tell you this holiday tale: This week, many wee ones (and large ones too, for that matter) will tear open gifts with glee. Many of those gifts will be made of plastic in some proportion. Those gifts will be played with, and then, if they’re lucky, handed down to siblings or to the less fortunate. Once they are completely loved and used up, they will be disposed of, and many will find their way out to the ocean, where they’ll likely be pulled by a current into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Like the 28,000 plastic bath toys that helped oceanographers track ocean currents back in 1992.)But the story has a happy(ish) ending: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is leading an international effort to halt plastics in the world’s oceans. Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the day President Bush signed into law the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act, which legally establishes the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The program has identified four strategies to address marine debris: * Source Identification, Monitoring, Research and Information Transfer * Reduction through Removal * Prevention, including Education and Outreach * Emergency ResponseAs the Bush Administration steps down, here’s hoping Jane Lubchenco and the rest of the NOAA team continue working on plastic pollution in the ocean. Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night. The Oceana blog will be taking a long winter nap until the 5th of January.