16 Sep Get Involved in Coastal Cleanup Day
Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. This is the world’s largest volunteer effort for our oceans. Even if you don’t live near the coast, you can still participate by heading to your local waterways, because eventually all rivers lead to the ocean.
What’s the Goal of the Day?
The idea is to inspire more people to take an active role in the health of our oceans and our planet. We can do this by:
- Cleaning up
- Identifying debris
- Changing contributing behaviors
Every Piece Adds up, Every Action Matters.
Last year, 800,000 volunteers collected over 18 million pounds of trash during the International Coastal Cleanup.
The gathered trash is reported by item by time by location in the Ocean Trash Index by the Ocean Conservancy. This gives us a snapshot of the marine debris littering coasts and waterway. Last year’s trash count included:
- Cigarette butts: 2,127,565
- Plastic bottles: 1,024,470
- Food wrappers: 888,859
- Plastic bags: 424,934
Catch the Trash Before it Goes Out to Sea
Cleaning up our beaches and shorelines is more than making them look pretty. It’s about the long-term health of our oceans. If our waters are unhealthy, then our sea life will be unhealthy.
Plastic is of particular concern. Sea turtles may eat plastic bags, thinking that they’re jellyfish. Seabirds think smaller pieces of plastic are fish eggs, one of their favorite foods. And sea life can become tangled in six-pack rings.
What’s worse, plastic doesn’t decompose, ocean currents simply carry it away where it forms large islands of floating debris. The sun then works its magic and the plastic breaks into microscopic plastic pieces that sink to the bottom and get in the food chain. So if we don’t catch trash at the shoreline, it literally stays in the sea forever.
You Can Make a Difference
Click here to find a Coastal Cleanup location near you. You can also make a difference every day with your buying habits. Insist on paper bags and glass bottles, and purchase products with minimal packaging. Instill the importance of protecting our oceans in the next generation by talking to your kids about the issue.