January 9, 2015

Addressing marine debris in Virginia waters

Marine debris was in the headlines a few months ago as searchers vainly looked for the missing Malaysian airline plane. Many had not heard of the floating masses called "garbage gyres" in the middle of our oceans. The one in the Pacific was in the news years ago, but memory is short when so many things plague our waters. And besides, this "sea of plastic" was not visible on our shorelines. It came from there, but few folks can actually see it now. But I pick up an assortment of flotsam on my nearby James River shoreline.

So it is good news that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and many other agencies and individuals are addressing balloon releases, derelict crab pots and other marine debris. Their plan is supposedly the first of its kind on the East Coast. The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program includes a lot of education and awareness programs as well as clean up. I hope to see more about in local and state news.