WASHINGTON, May 27,2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As beach season begins across North America, Ocean Conservancy highlighted the crisis of marine litter with results from the 30th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) that resulted in more than 18 million pounds of trash—equivalent to the weight of more than 100 Boeing 737s—being prevented from entering the ocean by an army of nearly 800,000 volunteers.
Among the more unusual finds were 97 TV sets, 28 refrigerators, 39 toilets and 54 bicycles. But small, ubiquitous items like cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws were the most-commonly collected items. They are also among the most deadly to wildlife like seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles.
The ICC is the world's largest volunteer effort to stop trash from polluting our ocean. This year, Ocean Conservancy is excited to offer the Clean Swell mobile app (available in the Apple app store or on Google Play) that allows users to easily log trash that they collect, a process that previously relied on paper-based logs.
"We believe that keeping our beaches and coasts trash free is not just a one-day event and invite ocean lovers to download and use Clean Swell this summer and all year long," said Allison Schutes, senior manager for the Trash Free Seas program. "Our app will enable you to not only share the trash you're stopping from entering our ocean, it will also seamlessly put that information into our Ocean Trash Index."
The Ocean Trash Index is world's largest item-by-item, location-by-location database of trash found in near-shore environments.In the past three decades, more than 225 million items of trash have been logged and removed from our beaches and waterways by more than 11.5 million volunteers.
"Individual action is the foundation of the Ocean Trash Index and I am immensely grateful for the volunteers around the world," said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas® program who spoke about plastic pollution at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya this week. "This remarkable dataset is the foundation of much of the research into solutions to stop trash from reaching the beach and littering our ocean."
Despite the hard work of volunteers, plastic and trash continues to enter the ocean. Eight million metric tons of plastic leaks into the world's ocean every year and the amount continues to grow. Without concerted global action, there could be one ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025, leading to significant environmental, economic and health issues. At least 80 percent of ocean plastic originates from land-based sources.
Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas Alliance® is an effort that includes partners from industry, government, NGOs and public interest organizations working together to identify ways to stop land-based trash from ever reaching the ocean.
The next International Coastal Cleanup will take place on September 17, 2016. Find a local cleanup near you at www.signuptocleanup.org
The Coca-Cola Company has supported Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup for the past 20 years. Each year Coca-Cola activates a global employee engagement campaign to encourage participation in the Cleanup. 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, Cox Enterprises, Altria Group, Inc., The Dow Chemical Company, Hollomon Price Foundation, Glad and Brunswick Public Foundation.
Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today's greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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SOURCE Ocean Conservancy