Anyone who visits the beach or plays in the water understands the problem with marine debris. Whether stepping on sharp plastic or glass, to the concerns about marine life entanglement from rope or other material. Surfrider has strived to be a leader in the reduction of Marine Debris by utilizing our chapter network to conduct beach cleanups  and advocate for waste reduction policies aimed at the source, generally human consumption. Surfrider staff and volunteers recently took part in the development of a Washingotn Marine Debris Action Plan (MDAP) in an effort to identify action items with others who share our concern so we can do a better job of getting human-sourced debris off our beaches and out of our oceans.

The Surfrider Capitol Chapter sorting threw the debris found during the April WA Coastal Cleanup

After multiple workshops and hours of shared ideas and dialogue, the Washington Marine Debris Plan was finalized in early September. The plan is a culmination of efforts to identify methods to reduce marine debris through beach monitoring and cleanups, to addressing the issue from the source, that being human-caused debris. With stakeholders from government agencies, tribal representatives, NGOs, and others, the plan casts a wide net in addressing the issue and was shaped from a wide variety of voices who are actively and pro-actively working toward eliminating marine debris.

The usual trash found on a beach depicted here during a recent South Sound Surfrider Chapter cleanup

Action items from Surfrider included in the MDAP come in many forms. For one, advocating for increased funding from the state for marine debris removal. Another, working with businesses through Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant program to help them reduce their waste. Others include better fireworks policies, amplifying education efforts, and more. Once again, take a look at the plan and see what Surfrider will be focusing on going forward. If something in the plan sparks your interest, contact your chapter and get involved. For any questions related to the MDAP, please contact WA Field Manager Brice Boland.