Lives and Livelihoods Disrupted by Marine Debris


For some, marine debris may simply be an unsightly inconvenience, but for many people around the world it is a critical problem that can affect all aspects of life.

This is particularly true for indigenous communities, whose deep understanding of and reliance on the natural environment and ocean, for subsistence, cultural connection, recreation, and economic opportunities, makes them especially aware of the damaging effects of marine debris. Community regional expertise on the impacts of marine debris and nuanced relationships with the environment shape many NOAA Marine Debris Program-supported projects around the country.

Alaska’s Pribilof Islands are an exceptional region in the heart of the Bering Strait. The communities of these islands, comprised predominantly of Unangax̂/Unangan (singular/plural, also referred to as “Aleut”) peoples, depend on the health of the surrounding marine ecosystem.

For decades, the people of St. George and St. Paul Islands have observed and dealt with the damaging impacts of marine debris on their shores, conducting regular cleanups to protect and steward the natural resources they depend on. The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island is using unmanned aircraft system surveys to better target removal and monitoring efforts, as well as expanding outreach efforts to work toward solutions.

Continue reading at NOAA Marine Debris Program

Image via NOAA Marine Debris Program