Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup to Take Place on September 20

Hundreds of thousands expected to participate in the largest single day volunteer effort to clean up our beaches

WASHINGTON,, Sept. 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 29th annual International Coastal Cleanup, a global event that mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people to take action for our ocean, will take place on Saturday, September 20.  Volunteers around the world will help clean up trash along beaches, lakes, and rivers in their communities.

Trash in the water and on beaches compromises the health of people, wildlife, and economies that depend on a healthy ocean. But individuals can make a difference in their everyday lives. Here are three actions people can take to clean up and prevent ocean trash:

• Take part in this year's International Coastal Cleanup as a volunteer.
• Pledge to fight trash: What would happen if 10,000 people decided not to make as much trash for one month? We could reduce the trash on Earth by over a million pounds.
• Reduce your purchases of single-use disposable goods. Going reusable ensures throwaway plastics never have the chance to make it to beaches, waterways, or the ocean. 

"Last year, volunteers picked up 12 million pounds of trash, equivalent to the weight of 50 blue whales," said Nicholas Mallos, marine debris specialist of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program. "The more people that come out to volunteer, the larger the impact we can have on a single day. This is just one way people can help fight the problem of ocean trash."

The Cleanup is centered on Ocean Conservancy's goal of tackling trash at every point in its lifecycle. While cleaning up trash that's already made it to our beaches and waterways is vital, it's not enough. Through individual responsibility, innovative science, smart public policy and industry leadership, we can find comprehensive solutions to the problem of ocean trash that will lead to healthier beaches and a healthier ocean.

"What people use, eat and drink in their everyday life could, and often does, end up in the ocean," said Mallos. "The items in our top 10 list every year—like shopping bags and bottle caps—are disposable plastics meant for one-time usage. These items simply do not belong in our natural environment." 

The Cleanup is part of Ocean Conservancy's strategy for Trash Free Seas and is one of the many ways the organization is helping find solutions for marine debris. Other Ocean Conservancy-led efforts include catalyzing scientific knowledge about the scope and impact of marine debris on ocean ecosystems, to identify the impact of these on ocean ecosystems; building a Trash Free Seas Alliance® of industry, science and conservation leaders committed to reduce waste; and launching a mobile app, Rippl, to help people make sustainable lifestyle choices that limit their trash impact.

The Coca-Cola Company has supported Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup for the past 18 years. Last year, Coca-Cola activated a global employee engagement campaign to encourage participation in the Cleanup. Over 16,000 Coca-Cola system associates, their friends and families in 21 countries volunteered, cleaning more than 250 miles of coastline. As part of its commitment to address global climate change, Bank of America has supported the Cleanup since 2002, with thousands of employees participating in Cleanup events all around the world. Other national sponsors include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hollomon Price Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., The Dow Chemical Company, Landshark Lager, Glad and Brunswick Public Foundation.
The 2013 International Coastal Cleanup, by the numbers:

 • Nearly 650,000 people (648,015) picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash (12,329,332) along nearly 13,000 miles of coastlines (12,914) 
 • Over the past 28 years, more than 10 million volunteers (10,302,910) picked up more than 175 million pounds of trash (176,270,239) from about 340,000 miles of shoreline (342,923)

Volunteers found:
• Total trash equal to the weight of 823 male African elephants, 50 blue whales, or 27 Statues of Liberty.
• Enough plastic beverage bottles that, when stacked end to end, are equal to the height of 493 Empire State Buildings, 1,020 Space Needles, or 580 Eiffel Towers.
• Enough disposable cigarette lighters to start 180,660,000 campfires.
• Enough plastic bottle caps to blanket 3 entire football fields.
Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean. From the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico to the halls of Congress, Ocean Conservancy brings people together to find solutions for our water planet. Informed by science, our work guides policy and engages people in protecting the ocean and its wildlife for future generations.


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