Cleanup across globe produces the highest total amount of trash ever collected in the event’s 28-year history and serves as a call to action by Ocean Conservancy
Photos and b-roll video available to reporters upon request
May 21, 2014
Washington, DC The total amount of trash picked up during the 28th year of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup weighed more than 12 million pounds, the most ever collected in the event’s history, according to a report on the Cleanup and its data released today. This new total is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines and in the ocean and waterways around the globe.
The data were collected last fall during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup, the largest annual volunteer effort aimed at improving the health of the ocean. While the report and the information it contains is a celebration of a truly international volunteer effort to rid the world’s beaches of trash and debris, Ocean Conservancy also is using this occasion to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping – at its many sources – the trash that ends up in the ocean.
“Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue,” said Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy’s president and CEO. “At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem – perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on.”
From the shorelines of beaches and waterways, as well from the water, 12,329,332 pounds (5,592,491 kg) of trash was collected by 648,015 volunteers during the Cleanup. They did this by walking 12,459 miles (20,058 km) of shores and searching 455 miles (732 km) of water.
During the 2013 Cleanup:
“Recently, the tragic loss and subsequent search for the Malaysia Airlines jetliner drew the world’s attention to the large pieces of debris floating in the open ocean. Now, we have these data that show the vast array of trash along shorelines and in the coastal ocean, and this is only a small fraction of what’s out there,” said Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy’s marine debris specialist and conservation biologist. “I believe these events often serve as a wake-up call that our ocean has become the world’s garbage pit and that nations, businesses, and individuals must work together to take the necessary steps to achieve trash free seas.”
The Cleanup is part of Ocean Conservancy’s larger strategy for Trash Free Seas, and is one of the many ways the organization is joining with others to help find answers and solutions to address existing ocean trash and eventually stop its flow into the ocean. Other Ocean Conservancy-led efforts include:
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, Brunswick Public Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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.
Help keep the ocean healthy for sea turtles, polar bears, whales and people like you.
Download the data collected during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup.
A collection of infographics from our 2014 report
Ocean Conservancy is extremely grateful to our sponsoring partners for their commitment to and enthusiasm for the International Coastal Cleanup.