According to recent estimates, over 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year. Over 150 million metric tons of plastic currently circulate our oceans. The United Nations stated during a General Assembly high-level meeting that we have until 2030 to prevent irreversible damage from climate change.
Hundreds of thousands of whales, sea turtles, fish, sharks, and seabirds die each year from ingesting plastic. Species that have been inhabiting the earth for millions of years are going extinct at an alarming rate.
(MOP) is a local ocean conservation organization established in Galveston. MOP’s mission is to educate and invest in the local community of Galveston, and to stop ocean pollution. This local movement was founded by Austen Anderson, a local surfer. Ever since he caught his first wave next to Pleasure Pier back in 2011, he knew he had found his life’s purpose.
Austen graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston with a B.S. in marine biology in 2016. “After graduating college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree. Galveston was my first home. The community gave me so much joy and happiness. All I wanted to do was to give back to Galveston. I wanted to teach others about ocean pollution, but I didn’t know where to start. That's when I got the idea for MOP. The rest is history.”
MOP recently partnered with Texas A&M University’s engineering program called Capstone. The Capstone experience bridges the gap between classroom and industry, offering senior engineers the opportunity to gain industry experience before graduating college. Over 70% of ocean pollution is sourced back to streets, sewage lines, storm drains and waterways. MOP engineered a device that aims to end the main source of ocean pollution. Their prototype has already proven their concept. Their design uses no energy, doesn’t interfere with natural wildlife, and in theory should mitigate flooding.
MOP also recently joined forces with Seeding Galveston. Together they plan to provide easy curbside services to Galveston homes to reduce waste through composting and recycling. Businesses and residents can register online at mountainoceanproject.org/zerowastegalveston. You can also sign up for beach clean ups, get free guides on how to recycle in Galveston and Houston, and receive a free business consultation on how your business can become more green.
Austen often quotes one of his biggest idols, Al Forever, “You’re always a better person when you come out of the water.” Surfing has given him a passion and a community he loves. Together Galveston can become a cleaner place for all of us to enjoy for years to come. Thanks so much and inspire others to be the shining light at the end of the tunnel!