Marine Debris Cleanup Efforts Highlighted in Recent "Waterways" Episode

Photo of a dead crab on a derelict trap. This crab was found dead inside the derelict trap on which it sits by a cleanup crew in 2013.

Seabirds ingesting balloons, marine mammals entangled in discarded fishing gear, and sea turtles abandoning plans to nest are among the issues caused by marine debris that are covered in a recent episode of “Waterways.”

Marine debris, including derelict fishing gear such as lobster and crab traps, rope, and anything else discarded into the sea -- from plastics to pallets -- is an overwhelming problem that harms both animals and habitats throughout south Florida and the world.

This episode focuses on efforts by Biscayne National Park and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to address the harm caused by marine debris. Both organizations monitor the type and quantity of debris that washes ashore and utilize teams of volunteers from around the country to help rid the environment of trash. The program includes interviews with experts and explains the many sources of this debris, helping people think twice about discarding unwanted items into marine waters.

With more than 200 episodes produced since 1993, the “Waterways” educational television series is a joint project between Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, informing viewers of the diverse wonders of the south Florida ecosystem, and the research and conservation programs that protect them.

SCUBA diver collecting drifting nets and ropes found in the water. A SCUBA diver helps collect discarded nets and ropes found drifting at sea.

“Waterways” airs on public and government channels throughout the state of Florida—check local listings for scheduling. Episodes may also be viewed on WaterwaysTVShow YouTube Channel and the WaterwaysTV Show Vimeo Channel.

To learn more, visit the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program website.

For more information:

The NOAA Marine Debris Program

2014 NOAA Report on Derelict Fishing Traps