Since 1988, volunteers have been making a difference by removing tons of marine debris from our Mississippi coastlines during the annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup event. This event was organized and run by a group of community leaders known as the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, which developed into a partnership between the Mississippi State University Extension Service. The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup was an annual event that took place in part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup event. This day is much more than just picking up trash. It’s an opportunity for a community to join together and inspire others to help take care of our coastal environments!
In 2016, the Mississippi State University Extension team at the Coastal Research Extension Center in Biloxi transformed what was once a single, annual event into a much larger, year-round education and outreach program. Our purpose as the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Program is to educate the community and facilitate cleanup events that raise awareness of the impacts of marine debris on the environment and providing information on ways we can reduce marine debris.
Marine debris is human-made litter, scattered across the entire ocean, being swept along by currents accumulating most noticeably along coastlines. It is estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic weight in the ocean than fish weight. With those huge quantities of marine debris in the oceans, it’s easy to see that marine debris poses a threat to us all. Everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing to human health and safety; from microscopic plankton to the giant blue whale is all impacted by the abundance of marine debris in the ocean.
The MSCCP hosts cleanup events open to the public year-round, in-class education, and can also provide cleanup supplies for individuals or groups interested in doing their own cleanup. Visit our Events page to see what's taking place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!