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OR&R Responds to Debris Pulse in Bering Strait

SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 — Starting in the last days of July, a notably increased amount of debris was reported in the Bering Straits region, with volumes and types of debris well outside the baseline “normal” debris typically observed, much of which with foreign language labeling.  

Map showing locations of new marine debris on the Alaska coast.
Notably increased amounts of debris have been reported in the Bering Straits region since late July 2020. Image credit: NOAA.

In response to these reports, OR&R Marine Debris Program and Emergency Response Division staff have partnered with other responding organizations to establish and facilitate an ad-hoc task force that includes federal and state agencies, debris community partners from the region, as well as the reporting parties. The goal of this task force is to share information, build common situational awareness, and identify needs and opportunities for direct actions to address this incident. Through hind cast modeling (Emergency Response Division), field observations (local partners and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and remote sensing (National Park Service), the group is building a better picture of the debris, which can guide next steps for international engagement on debris tracing and prevention, as well as field response prioritization.  

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Last updated Sunday, September 20, 2020 4:07pm PDT