By Guest Blogger Allison Schutes of Ocean Conservancy
Nothing ruins a sweeping ocean vista like…trash. Not only are piles of plastic an eyesore, they’re seriously harmful to the countless animals who call the ocean home.
Here at Ocean Conservancy, we’ve been working hard to keep trash off of our beaches and out of our oceans. For 30 years we have organized the International Coastal Cleanup, where 11.5 million volunteers from 153 countries have collected 220 million pounds of trash.
And now we’re at it again! This month, people all over the world will gather in countries around the world to remove millions of pounds of trash from our coasts. I’m proud to be part of the amazing team that ensures the Cleanup occurs year after year. Interested in joining us? Check out our easy-to-use map to search the globe and find a Cleanup near you!
I’m always amazed by the number of people who care about the health of our ocean. During the 2015 Cleanup, 791,336 people removed 18,062,911 pounds of trash from 25,188 miles of coast around the world. These volunteers collected trash on their local beaches and waterways and submitted data to Ocean Conservancy creating a snapshot of the most persistent forms of trash found along the beaches and waterways. These most commonly found items include drinking straws, cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles and bottle caps.
This year we have “upped our game” by having a new way to make your Cleanup more exciting than ever (as if protecting our ocean wasn’t enough!). Introducing our brand-new Clean Swell app: a fun and easy way to keep track of the trash you collect. The app is free and available to download on both iOS and Android systems.
For three decades, the International Coastal Cleanup has been bringing people together to help protect the ocean… and, thanks to volunteers, we’ve been truly making a difference. But, we can’t do it alone. Please join a Cleanup near you!
Allison Schutes is the Senior Manager of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, based in Washington, D.C. Her passion is teaching people of all ages about the ocean, the amazing animals who call it home and what individuals can do to help conserve and protect this incredible ecosystem.