The annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is a global waterway cleanup effort spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy that has occurred for over 30 years. The global cleanup takes place each September. The main goal of this event is to remove trash from oceans and waterbodies across the world. Other goals include inspiring action among global citizens and capturing data surrounding what items are most commonly found during the cleanup effort. This has resulted in the formation of one of the world’s largest databases on marine debris and has been used to develop outreach and education tools.
This year, a team of EAI staff participated in the ICC effort hosted by Keep Martin Beautiful. Our team participated by cleaning our local Jensen Beach and collecting over 24 pounds of trash! We used the Ocean Conservancy’s CleanSwell app to add our information to the global database. These were our findings:
- Our two most frequently collected items were cigarette butts and small plastic fragments, at over 200 items of each!
- Fishing gear (primarily pieces of fishing line) were our second most common item, with over 20 pieces found.
- Single use plastic items were also collected, which included plastic bags, bottle caps, cups, utensils, straws, bottles, lids, and food wrappers.
- We did not find any balloons during our cleanup! As turtle experts, this makes us particularly happy since balloons can be a severe threat to turtles.
- Based on our cleanup data, one of the best ways to keep the oceans clean is to further reduce the use of single use plastics and tobacco products.
We had a great time on the beach and are happy to participate in bettering our local waterways. We hope to see you out there next year!
If you are interested in more information on the International Coastal Cleanup, check out: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/
If you would like to conduct your own cleanups throughout the year, consider documenting what you find using the Cleanswell app to help build the global database. More information can be found at: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/cleanswell/