Wrapper in trash 1200

We are fortunate to have organized city services that collect and handle our trash. These services prevent trash from getting into our waters. We need to do our part as citizens to place any trash we handle in trash cans where it belongs. Even small things, like bottle caps and candy wrappers, can create a big problem when birds and sea creatures mistake them for food and eat them.

Kids can help create a Clean Water Future by helping make sure that litter and trash, no matter how small, gets placed in trash cans and handled by our city services.


Food Packaging Litter Washes into Stormwater

Single-use plastics, like candy wrappers, are a major source of litter, and since our area is very rainy, the litter is washed down storm drains and into streams and the bay.

There's Too Much Plastic in the Ocean

While it's difficult to say exactly how much plastic is in the ocean, scientists think about 8 million metric tons of plastic trash are in our oceans. This plastic pollution makes our waters unsafe and unsightly (NOAA. 2017)

Plastic Recovered from Dauphin Island Beach by Caitlin Wessel

Top Cleanup Item

Plastic film (primarily single-use plastic bags and snack and candy wrappers) represent the second and third most littered items in America behind cigarette butts. (KAB, 2021)

Things You Can Do

Wrappers in your pockets

Put gum and candy wrappers in your pockets or backpack and throw them away at home.

Photo by: Petr Kratochvil

Make A Trash Bag For Your Car

Make a trash bag for your car like this one (see more ideas on our Pinterest board).

Pick Up Trash

Whenever you see trash lying on the ground, pick it up and place it securely in a trash can.

Photo Credit: Vicky Somma CC2.0

Buy in Bulk

When you can, buy snacks in the bulk food section of your grocery store and take it with you in reusable containers..

Photo Credit: Ann CC BY 2.0

Attend a Litter Cleanup

Attend a litter cleanup with your friends or family, they happen throughout the year. List of Area Cleanups

Use The Water!

Getting out on the water is not only fun and great exercise, the more you use the water, the more likely it is you'll think about protecting it. So go ahead, go for a swim, get your fishing pole, take a boat for a ride, or attend a water festival near you.


Coloring and Activity Book

Activity book from NOAA Marine Debris Program and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries for K-3

Activities and Games

The NOAA Marine Debris Program and its partners offer free, downloadable education and outreach materials for people of all ages to learn about marine debris including school curricula, kids pages & books, apps, Marine Debris Tracker, and more.


Cucu and her friends learn about the importance of keeping their homes and neighborhoods clean.

Related Actions

Bring Your Own Cup

Foam cup litter can easily drift into storm drains and then into streams becoming ugly debris that is dangerous for marine creatures.

Do the Trash Mob Dance

The Trash Mob Dance is a simple dance that helps teach the importance of putting trash in a trash receptical and picking up trash you see on the ground.

Types of Pollution

When water rushes off hardened surfaces, erosion of sediments degrade water conditions and smother and disrupt seagrass growth and the habitat for benthic organisms they provide.

Compounds like oil, grease, and heavy metals take a long time to break down and threaten the health of both aquatic and human life.

Litter is not only unsightly, but it also causes a variety of problems to the ecosystem as it enters our waters where it is often is mistaken for food by fish and invertebrates.

Too much fertilizer, pet waste, and other nutrients in our water often lead to serious problems like lowering dissolved oxygen levels, preventing seagrass growth, and killing fish.

Disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and other single-celled organisms, are referred to as pathogens, some, like Salmonella, cause human health problems.

While pesticides are designed to be toxic to certain organisms, they can often be harmful and kill other species in the marine system that are important for the entire ecosystem.