Marine Debris Background Resources
A Map to provide context for activities (includes Carteret County boundary, school locations, Rachel Carson Reserve, and 2 potential cleanup sites)
Links to general Marine Debris background articles for teachers and adults:
- Too Much of A Good Thing – The Economist:
- Biggest Garbage Patch in the World – CNN: An educational video on the Great Pacific Garbbage Patch
- Plastic Straws Upon Request – LA Times: An editorial supporting straws upon request only in California restaurants.
- The Plasticized Ocean: A look at the impacts of marine debris in eastern North Carolina, from The Coastal Review.
- Marine debris – National Geographic Society: An overview of marine debris and a photo gallery to illustrate its impacts.
- The massive problem of microplastics: An introduction to microplastics – where do they come from, where are they now, and how can we help?
- Plastic bags cut wildlife populations in marshland ecosystems: A summary of the impacts of a common type of marine debris on the health of an ecosystem common in eastern North Carolina.
- Sea turtles face plastic pollution peril: A review of the negative effects of plastic pollution on all 7 species of sea turtle, some of which are found in North Carolina.
- How a DVD Case Killed a Whale: A news story about how plastic debris caused the death of a whale in a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
- How Plastic Pollution Can Carry Flame Retardants Into Your Sushi: An introduction to biomagnification and how pollutants can end up in the food we eat.
- Butt Really? A study on the environmental impacts of cigarette butts and ways similar sources of pollution have been managed in the past.
- Plastic Not-So-Fantastic: How the Versatile Material Harms the Environment and Human Health: A summary of the human health impacts of plastic pollution.
- A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard: A specific example of how marine debris is a problem around the world, and how technology (Google Earth) influences science.
- Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made: A recent study on the current state of the world’s plastics.
- The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: Plastics: A recent New York Times article about the legacy of plastics, based on the above study.
Links to general Marine Debris background articles for students:
Documentaries, Films and Videos:
- Smog of the Sea
- What Is Marine Debris? | A Cartoon Crash Course
- How Much Plastic is in the Ocean?
- How We Can Keep Plastics Out of Our Ocean
- Bag It by Suzan Beraza: Focuses on the politics of bags, single-use disposables, waste and recycling and the health of our oceans.
- STRAWS by Linda Booker: It’s estimated that each day in the U.S., over 500,000,000 straws are used once and tossed.
- TRASH TALK: Marine Debris and Plastics by Ocean Today.
- TRASH TALK: Where Does Marine Debris Come From? by Ocean Today
- TRASH TALK: Impacts of Marine Debris by Ocean Today
- A Plastic Ocean by Craig Leeson (2016): Two explorers set out on a four-year global journey to learn about the increasingly devastating crisis of ocean plastic that has polluted our waterways.
Links to Marine Debris newsletters that have updated information:
- NOAA – The NOAA Marine Debris Program has made great strides towards addressing and raising awareness about the global marine debris issue. Check out their 2017 Marine Debris Program Report, for up-to-date information on programs, data, lesson plans and more! at a few highlights and some major accomplishments from this past fiscal year.
- Plastics at SEA – Sea Education Association has been conducting plastic research since the early 1980s. During this time the occurrence of floating tar balls has substantially declined, in contrast to floating plastic debris, which continues to persist. In addition, SEA has conducted two research expeditions dedicated to the study of plastic marine debris. Results and data (which can be used in your math classes!) can be found at their website (Graph of Plastic Data).
- Plastic Ocean Project: Join the effort to reduce straw use at local restaurants by certifying them as Ocean Friendly Establishments.
- Ocean Conservancy – SKIP THE STRAW: Sign the pledge to say “no thanks” to straws. Straws pose a real danger to animals like sea turtles, albatross and fish who can eat them.
- NOAA – Marine Debris Art Contest: Submit your artwork through November 30th!
- NOAA – Students for Zero Waste Week: Pledge to take the Zero Waste Week Challenge.
- Plastic Film Recycling – Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP): Start a public awareness and outreach initiative designed to increase plastic film recycling.
- Letter Writing: Write letters to local businesses about reducing the amount of plastic.
- BlueTube Installation: Setup BlueTubes at a local beach, to help decrease beach litter. Subscribe to the BlueTube Newsletter here.
Additional lesson plans and activities:
- Bag It: Curriculum is focused on Single-Use Disposables; Waste and Recycling; Oceans; Human Health; and Activism. Each chapter has one or two lessons and within each lesson there are several interactive and hands-on activities.
Other local field trips:
- Onslow County Landfill & Recycling center Field Trip: For more information or to schedule a field trip contact: Lisa Rider at Lisa_Rider@onslowcountync.gov.