Ocean trash: a people problem

May 21st, 2014
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The tally from the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is in, and no surprise that cigarette butts still top the list of the Top 10 items collected. Candy wrappers came in second, followed by plastic beverage bottles and plastic bottle caps.

Volunteers across the globe picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup in September , the most ever collected in the event's history, according to a report released today (May 21, 2014). The new total, according to the Ocean Conservancy, is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines, in the ocean and waterways around the globe.

The Conservancy, while celebrating the volunteer effort, is also using this occasion to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping the trash that ends up in the ocean at its many sources.

"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."

The full trash index is available online.

To put it in another perspective:

>> Trash collected by volunteers would fill roughly 38 Olympic size swimming pools, or weigh about the same as 823 male African elephants.

>> The amount of fishing line collected would go up and over Mt. Everest five times.

>> The number of bottle caps found would carpet three football fields, laid side by side.

>> There were enough items found to furnish an entire studio apartment, including an air conditioner, sink, fridge, stove,  microwave, washing machine, couch, tables and chairs, TV set, coffee table, rug, curtains and mattresses!

>> There were also most of the items needed for a wedding, as well as items necessary for caring for a baby. More unusual items included a plastic eyeball, 1904 typewriter, blonde wig and trampoline.

What you can do? Here are 10 Things You Can Do to help keep the seas trash-free:

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