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Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation Announces Successful Season

The Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation (AMSF) announced today that the 2013 marine debris cleanup season is beginning to wind down.  Director Dave Gaudet, said that he expects the final tally for the season to be 160,000 to 200,000 lbs of marine debris removed from AMSF sponsored projects around the state.  “It seems that wherever we look, there is a great deal of marine debris to be found” he stated.  Funding for these projects is from the State of Alaska, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development’s Community Impact Assessment Program.

Unfortunately it is becoming more difficult to recycle the debris.  “Once collected, we like to get the debris out of the community because many of the landfills in rural Alaska cannot handle the additional material.  Some communities simply do not want debris that they had no part in creating to remain in their community.”  AMSF had been working with a recycler in Washington State for many years, but they are not currently accepting shipments due to poor markets for the material.  Gaudet noted that AMSF is conducting a pilot project with another non-profit to recycle the material this fall.  “Hopefully, this will provide a long term solution to the problem of disposing of plastic marine debris.” 

Reports of debris arriving from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami decreased this season.  However, at one cleanup at Cape Suckling, the contractor reported a large influx of debris following the storms the week of October 21.  The contractor reported that a large amount of what appeared to be household items with Japanese writing on them appeared on the beach that just been cleared of approximately 55,000 lbs of marine debris.

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