International Coastal Cleanup Day

International Coastal Cleanup Day – Saturday, September 16, 2017

You may get the impression from photographs, or occasional cruise, that our oceans hold endless amounts of beautiful clean water. Very few people are aware of the ugly truth lying beneath the surface. In addition to many other types of debris, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans.

Frequent ocean boaters are probably more aware of the problem. Over 250,000 tons of the debris is actually floating on the surface. If you are in the oceans often enough, you are bound to come across some of it.

Emily Penn is the skipper of the steel-hulled 72-foot Sea Dragon that scientists use to collect samples of sea trash. So she has seen a lot of it. Yet the volume still surprises her. Penn told National Geographic:

The thing that shocks me every time is the fact that the ocean looks like it is clear blue water. And then … we pull out that sock at the end of the net and find it’s full of thousands of fragments of plastic.”

According to, there is already an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic circulating in our marine environments. To make matters worse, another 8 million metric tons are added every year. The site says that’s the equivalent of “…dumping one New York City garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day for an entire year!

Fortunately, anyone and everyone can do at least a little something that can make a real difference. One of the best and the easiest ways to help is participating on International Coastal Cleanup Day.

How you can help to protect our oceans

In order to solve the trash problem, scientists have a good idea of how much trash is out there. They also need to know what kind of trash it is. On International Coastal Cleanup Day, volunteers don’t only collect trash. They also keep track of it, using an app called Clean Swell™.

You simply “Start Collecting” trash on your app. Your data will then be instantly uploaded to the global ocean trash database of the Ocean Conservancy organization. You will be able to check your own personal Cleanup History at any time. This will allow you to see exactly what impact you’ve had on keeping the world’s oceans cleaner and healthier.

The app will record every single item of trash that you collect, and maintain a historical record of your efforts. You will be able to track the total distance you’ve cleaned and the total weight of trash that you’ve collected. You will even be able to share the information directly through e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook.

Of course, you will still provide a great deal of help just by collecting trash without even using the app. But the information the app provides to the global database makes it easier to identify trends. And these are crucial to creating effective solutions.

The results speak for themselves

You may be wondering just how much of a difference such a simple solution can make. So it might help to see how much volunteers have already accomplished. The top 10 items they have collected this far are:

  1.     1,863,838 Cigarette butts
  2.     1,578,834 Plastic beverage bottles
  3.        822,227 Plastic bottle caps
  4.        762,353 Food wrappers
  5.        520,900 Plastic grocery bags
  6.        419,380 Plastic lids
  7.        409,380 Straws or stirrers
  8.        390,468 Glass beverage bottles
  9.        368,655 Other plastic bags
  10.    365,584 Foam take-out containers


If you love our oceans and want to help in the fight to save them, then just download the app and find a cleanup location near you.

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