- In the United States, marine debris is defined as “any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes.” Oregon State law defines marine debris similarly. Marine debris is a growing global problem that harms the environment and commerce, and threatens navigation safety and human health.
Over the years, Oregon’s agencies, NGOs, and industry have done remarkable work to prevent and remove marine debris. Representatives from Oregon contributed to the West Coast Governors Alliance West Coast Marine Debris Strategy, which highlighted marine debris priorities and outlined an array of actions. Since 2012, the influx of Japan tsunami marine debris (JTMD) has brought together state partners to collaborate on the response to marine debris created by this tragic event, and created additional momentum to address marine debris in Oregon. In April 2016, the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) identified marine debris as a high priority for the state. Many entities working on marine debris in Oregon have agreed to coordinate and create the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan (OR MDAP), a work plan to facilitate collaborative and effective marine debris prevention and reduction efforts in Oregon. The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) has prioritized supporting and facilitating the creation of marine debris action plans around the U.S., and is committed to supporting the OR MDAP for years to come.
The OR MDAP focuses on marine debris activities taken under normal conditions. Large-scale debris removal operations associated with major disasters are covered under the State of Oregon Debris Management Plan, and the State of Oregon Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Plan.