Alaska Sea Grant Fellow Participates in Dutch Harbor Cleanup that Removed 17,200 Pounds of Litter and Debris
MAY 30, 2023 — In early May, Harmony Wayner, Alaska Sea Grant Fellow with the NOAA Marine Debris Program, traveled to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to support its city-hosted annual cleanup. The yearly cleanup happens the first two weeks of May, with people picking up marine debris and litter around town. Nichel Kernin, the Recreation Program Coordinator for the city of Unalaska, organized the cleanup. Ocean Conservancy was a generous partner, donating gloves and snacks. The Qawalangin tribe of Unalaska also hosts beach cleanup events alongside this city effort.
Unalaska/ Port of Dutch Harbor is a remote town in the Aleutian Islands, approximately 1,700 miles southwest of Anchorage. Storms can bring marine debris to the shores of Unalaska, including nets and lines from the fishing industry, as well as consumer debris. Dealing with marine debris in Alaska is complex, since the locations are remote, often with boat or small plane access only, and disposal is a common challenge due to small landfill capacities. The city of Unalaska, as well as many other Alaskan towns, work to mitigate debris impacts after winter and coordinate sustained community involvement in cleanup efforts each spring
This year’s cleanup total was 806 bags and 17,200 pounds of roadside and marine debris.
The Island of Unalaska is Unangax lands.