If you've read my blog before, you might know that I have a huge issue with trash and its effect on marine life. Just in the last few months, there have been multiple reports of animals such as whales and turtles injured or killed by trash such as plastic bags and candy wrappers. Pollution such as this is so easy to prevent.
Unfortunately, prevention isn't always possible, so some people work hard to clean it up. An organization that does that is the Ocean Conservancy, which released its report from the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) which occurred in September 2008. Nearly 400,000 volunteers scoured about 17,000 miles of coastline, river bottoms and ocean floors during the event.
Can you guess the most commonly-found item? Yes, it was cigarette butts. Those volunteers picked up 3.2 million of them. They also picked up 1.4 million plastic bags, 942,000 food wrappers and containers, and 937,000 caps and lids. According to an AP news article, volunteers also collected 26,585 tires, enough for 6,646 cars – and a spare. In total, volunteers removed 6.8 million pounds of debris - the weight of 18 blue whales.
It's an amazing effort. And one that's so unnecessary if we all just start being a little more careful with our trash.
How about you? Have you participated in the ICC before or a similar event? I'd love to hear about your experiences and what you found!