Documenting Marine Debris in Elliott Bay

Latest update August 29, 2019 Started on August 29, 2019
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Youth Ocean Advocates from the Seattle Aquarium will be documenting and cleaning up marine debris found in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

Expedition Background

The prevalence of marine debris is a massive issue for our ocean, on both a global and local scale. On the shores and in the waters of Seattle's Elliott Bay, we see plastics, cigarette butts, and more cluttering our beaches and marine environment.


Youth Ocean Advocates at the Seattle Aquarium have been educating Aquarium visitors about the issue of marine debris for more than 10 years, providing examples of what people can do to reduce the likelihood that their waste will become debris by refusing single use plastics and responsibly reducing, reusing, and recycling. Further, we've hosted dozens of beach cleanups on Elliott Bay to remove debris from our ocean. We've testified before city council and the state legislature, asking them to craft policies that will prevent plastics from entering our ocean.

People underestimate the scale of our marine debris problem in Puget Sound. To many, the surface of the ocean appears to be a serene. But closely examine our beaches, and you'll find hundreds of bits of plastic, cigarette butts, and more. Dive below the surface and you'll find things like bikes, tires, and fishing gear. Filter the water and you'll find tiny plastic threads from our clothing.

To educate the public about the prevalence of marine plastics AND what people can do to make a difference, high school students who are members of the Youth Ocean Advocates volunteer program will document plastic and other marine debris in and around Elliott Bay, sharing the documentation with the visitors and the general public. We'll explore the shores and nearshore environment, partner with divers, and explore the bay with an ROVs. We'll cleanup along the way - collecting and responsibly disposing of trash.

We'll also highlight the positive impact we and others are having to reduce marine debris. From laws that are passed to community beach cleanups to personal choices to reduce plastic consumption - these actions have an impact and people need role models.

Our expedition will document debris in our waterways, educate the public about it's prevalence and impact, and move people to action.

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Programs and organizations like this are so crucial to the local community. Thanks for sharing your story :)

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