DHEC participates in national conference aimed at keeping plastics out marine waters and surrounding areas

On March 30, DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) participated in a national conference focused on the reduction and prevention of plastics in the ocean, coastal waters and surrounding areas, such as sand on the beach. Breaking Down Plastics brought together over 500 environmental experts, non-governmental organizations, public agencies, private companies and concerned citizens to discuss the impact that plastic pollution has on the ocean environment, public health and coastal communities.

OCRM’s Coastal Services Division Director, Dan Burger, moderated the panel Government Vanguards of the Aquatic Debris Movement. Dan highlighted OCRM’s efforts, including abandoned and poorly kept vessel removal, Adopt-A-Beach and its recent cigarette litter reduction pilot study on Folly Beach. Additionally, Dan talked about how DHEC is using its MyCoast mobile app to collect data that can be used to help target reduction and prevention efforts.

Panelists from the U.S. Army, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed the innovative roles government plays in plastic polymer research, plastic pollution source reduction and local partnership efforts that have resulted in significant pollution reduction and healthier environments. Outside at the Plastics Solutions Pavilion, DHEC staff members Liz Hartje (OCRM) and Adah Gorton (BLWM) distributed examples of innovative educational materials and discussed how DHEC works every day to foster partnerships, reduce pollution and promote recycling.

Although there is much work to be done, South Carolina’s coastal environment benefits from DHEC’s community-based pollution reduction efforts.

Complete conference details, including video of keynote speakers and panelists, is available at http://plastic.scaquarium.org/about.

To learn more about DHEC’s Marine Debris Program, please visit

http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Water/CoastalManagement/MarineDebrisAbandonedVessel.

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