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NOAA Publishes Puerto Rico Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide

APRIL 3, 2023 — On March 29, the NOAA Marine Debris Program, within the Office of Response and Restoration, released the “Puerto Rico Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide.” The guide is a product of a collaborative process with territorial and federal agencies. This work aims to improve preparedness for responding to marine debris after disasters in Puerto Rico.

A cover of a response guide with a photo of a derelict vessel.

During natural disasters, large amounts of debris enter nearshore coastal waterways all at once. Disaster-related debris can include abandoned and derelict vessels, construction and demolition debris, and household hazardous waste, among other types of debris. It can be a hazard to navigation, damage habitat, and pose pollution threats.

The Puerto Rico Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide outlines existing response structures at all levels of government to facilitate a coordinated and timely response. It identifies organization roles and responsibilities and includes an overview of permitting and compliance requirements that must be met before marine debris removal work begins. 

The guide serves as a complete reference for marine debris response in Puerto Rico. The accompanying field reference guide includes the most pertinent information for quick reference in the field and during emergency response operations. The guide is being released in both English and Spanish. 

Last updated Friday, April 14, 2023 11:10am PDT