Coastal cleanup
Photo credit: © Skip Nall / Aurora

Our ocean, rivers, and lakes have a problem with trash. Marine debris can injure and kill wildlife, affect human health, and weaken coastal economies that rely on a healthy and vibrant ocean. But solving the problem is in our hands — reducing and preventing trash from entering our waterways is one the easiest ways each of us can help protect the ocean.

We're proud to spearhead the world's largest volunteer effort of its kind — the International Coastal Cleanup — to address the problem of marine debris, and today we hope you'll ask Congress to join us.

Please fill out the form below to send a letter to your representatives in Congress: urge them to strengthen and reauthorize the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act.

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  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative


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It's Time to Stop Trashing Our Ocean

Dear [Decision Maker],

I urge you to increase funding for marine debris prevention and reduction programs and support reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act.

On a single day in September 2011 over 600,000 Ocean Conservancy volunteers in 96 countries and locationsaround the world, including 45 removed nearly 9.2 million pounds of trash from local waterways and beaches. If not removed, this trash can sicken, injure, or kill marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds that ingest or are entangled in marine debris. Some marine debris -- such as paint cans that leach toxic materials, or medical waste that spread bacteria and germs -- can pose immediate risks to human health. Trash that washes up on beaches or impedes the navigation of recreational boaters or commercial fishers has impacts on coastal economies.

Congress recognized the significant impact of marine debris in 2006 with the passage of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act. The Act directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to prevent marine debris and protect our oceans and coast from its harmful effects. Congress authorized funding for both NOAA and the US Coast Guard, which play a critical role in enforcing ocean pollution and marine debris laws. I urge you to support funding for both of these agencies at the full amount authorized by the Act: $10 million for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, and $2 million for the US Coast Guard.

As the Act comes due for reauthorization, as a nation we have an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to solving this problem and making sure the federal agencies have the best tools and continued funding to develop and implement solutions to end marine debris. I urge you to support reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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