Beach Cleanups Exposed: The Ocean Conservancy's 25 Year Report on Marine Debris

Coastkeeper loves beach cleanups.

coastal-cleanup-day-san-diegoWe host at the very least two beach cleanups a month.  Aside from the obvious—we want beautiful beaches and healthy oceans—why?  So much more rides on these cleanups.  Ocean Conservancy just published a report titled “Talking Trash: 25 Years of Action for the Ocean,” which provides a 25-year look at the trash and other marine debris found on beaches and in the water. It is intended to educate the public and leaders in government and industry to make strides in preventing marine debris from choking our ocean and waterways.  Thus giving a broader perspective on why cleanups can influence political, industrial and social change.

The report is based on data collected over the past 25 years from Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC).  ICC is the largest volunteer effort for the ocean, bringing out hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world to remove millions of pounds of trash and debris from beaches, lakes and waterways while recording every piece of trash that is found.  Alongside monthly, sponsored, and beach cleanups in a box, Coastkeeper works with I Love a Clean San Diego to host Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County, which serves as a significant source of statistical information for this global effort, as well as a wonderful event to spread awareness and remove pollution in San Diego.  The data from the cleanups is collected and analyzed to give insight into the global problem of marine debris.  
What sets these cleanups apart is the strictly regimented counting of each item that is collected from the cleanup.  Each volunteer is trained and made responsible for recording exactly what is found.  This is the crucial step to why the cleanups are a necessary element of ocean pollution prevention.

Because of the data collected at the annual Coastal Cleanup Day and Coastkeeper’s monthly cleanups, we have a clear idea of the specific items and products affecting our oceans and waterways, thus facilitating creation of preventative programs and strategies.  This information helps us educate our government and community, so we can work together on the solutions.  Ocean Conservancy and Coastkeeper use similar data collecting procedures; Coastkeeper keeps track of every piece of trash collected at any of our beach cleanups by distributing data cards or itemized lists for volunteers to keep a tally of apprehended items.  The 25-year report recorded that over the past 25 years, 9 million volunteers in 150+ countries picked up 166 million pieces of trash across just under 300,000 miles; which provides the first ever analysis of long-term trends.

Read the beach cleanup report.  And get involved to make a difference in San Diego and join us for a beach cleanup.