Marine Debris Campaign Lauded as Nationwide Model

Virginia’s social media posts gained a following and national recognition for a statewide plan to reduce marine debris.

Approximately 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources. With that statistic in mind, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program established the first East Coast plan focused on reducing marine debris statewide. Virginia is also first state to develop a data-driven standard for assessing the plan’s effectiveness.

Virginia marine debris blog posts on litter behaviors reached more than 12 million people, and a social media post on turtle-balloon ingestion reached more than 1.2 million people with more than 11,000 shares. A NOAA Marine Debris Program post on a similar theme gained almost 15,500 impressions. These and other postings led to local newspaper articles on microplastics pollution and the debris reduction plan.

Impressed by the plan and its innovative messaging, the Keep America Beautiful organization gave partner Clean Virginia Waterways a grant twice the usual amount to reduce cigarette litter in Virginia Beach and held up the state’s efforts as a model for communities nationwide.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program and Office for Coastal Management played important parts in funding and providing technical assistance to the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, which hosted two marine debris summits as well. (2017)

More Information: Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan

Partners: Clean Virginia Waterways, Keep America Beautiful, Longwood University, NOAA, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Commonwealth University