The goals of this project are to discuss the need for:

  • Research & Assessment

  • Coordination

  • Prevention

  • Removal

  • Emergency Response & Preparedness 


Marine debris is defined by the NOAA Marine Debris Act of 2006 as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes.


Vision: The Houston-Galveston Litter and Marine Debris Prevention Stakeholders envision a region free from trash and plastic pollution that impacts our bayous, lakes and rivers that lead to Galveston Bay.


Mission: To investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of litter and plastic pollution on our natural resources, wildlife, economy, public health and our quality of life.

On average the citizens of Houston produce 6.2 lbs of solid waste per day
Plastic waste compromises about 13% of municipal solid waste in the U.S
 If we do the math, each Houstonian produces 0.81 lbs of plastic waste per day
 In 2015, there were 6,656,947 people in the Houston Metro area

Each day Houston could produce about

5,365,299 pounds

of plastic and 1,958,407,200 pounds per year

(~ 979,200 tons) 

Why worry about marine debris?
  • Trash is ocean or land based

  • Ocean Based Debris:

    • 80% of plastic in the ocean is from shorelines

    • 10% from fishing gear

    • 10% from boats and ships

  • Land based debris:

    • Urban and industrial waste sites

    • Sewage and storm water outfalls

    • Terrestrial litter transported by rivers or left by beach users

Between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010 from people living within 50 kilometers of the coastline worldwide (Jambeck et al., 2015)

The oceans take in roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic in a typical year

This is the equivalent of finding five grocery bags full of plastic on every foot of coastline in the 192 countries examined in this one study

(Jambeck et al., 2015)

Data Sources:

Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., . . . Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771.

Keep Houston Beautiful. (2016). Keep Houston Beautiful.   Retrieved from http://www.houstonbeautiful.org/recycle.html

Schupska, S. (2015). New Science paper calculates magnitude of plastic waste going into the ocean [Press release]

Sheavly, S. B. (2010). National Marine Debris Monitoring Program: Lessons Learned. Retrieved from Virginia Beach, VA:


U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). Four Texas Metro Areas Collectively Add More Than 400,000 People in the Last Year, Census Bureau Reports [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-43.html


This webpage was set up to communicate and share our progress as we initiate, develop and begin acting on the Greater Houston-Galveston Trash-Based Aquatic

Action Plan. Please note the purpose of this action plan is to serve as a guidance document or a central point of reference for improved collaboration and coordination among the multitude of stakeholders across the greater Houston-Galveston region, to avoid duplication and optimize the efficiency and efficacy of efforts.

The document is not intended to be regulatory or specifically binding on actions or timeframes.