Virginia addresses Marine Debris Concerns

Virginia is Addressing Marine Debris


Did you know that VA is the first state on the east coast to have a plan in place to address marine debris?  In order to tackle the plan, an ongoing marine debris advisory committee is being Marine Debrisestablished.  One of the first tasks involves developing and implementing a social marketing campaign targeting behaviors that reduce balloon litter in the marine environment.  Many people don’t consider the harm to marine animals and wild life caused by helium balloon releases.


However, balloons are not the only threat to marine animals and wildlife.  Among marine debris that causes harm are plastic bags, metal, fishing line, food and beverage packaging, and cigarette butts.  While a lot of debris sinks, much also floats.  Marine animals and wildlife often mistake debris for food or become entangled.  Entanglement can lead to injury, illness, suffocation, starvation, and even death.


Even though marine debris is a global problem, we are glad that Virginians are working to decrease litter and marine debris.  Through prevention and raising awareness about debris, our marine environment can be improved.  What else can you do?  You can make a difference by implementing the following:


  • Try and cut back on the amount of trash you produce
  • Opt for reusable items instead of single use products
  • Recycle as much of your trash as you can
  • Join local efforts to pick up trash and clean the shoreline
  • Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and storm drains free of trash – they can empty into our oceans and waterways.