International Coastal Cleanup by Ocean Conservancy

by OldSailor on April 17, 2008



Oceans can no longer be exploited and neglected. Marine debris kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year. Ocean Conservancy is on a global mission to save the oceans for more than thirty years. Ocean Conservancy envisions a future in which no place on earth is ignored in the fight against debris. The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is a fundamental aspect of this vision.

On September 15, 2007 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) was undertaken worldwide. The Cleanup saw an increase in international representation in 2007, with 76 countries holding a cleanup event compared to the 66 who participated in 2006. This year’s cleanup will be held on September 20, 2008.

The interesting features of ICC 2007 are:

  • more than 378,192 volunteers participated in the cleanup operation
  • volunteers were from 76 Countries and 45 States
  • removed 6,075,698.4 pounds of debris from over 33,426.45 miles of shoreline
  • approximately 182 pounds of trash collected per mile of shoreline
  • removed an average of 16 pounds of trash per person
  • volunteers removed nearly 2 million cigarettes. An average of 5 cigarettes per volunteer.
  • 81 birds, 63 fish, 49 invertebrates, 30 mammals, 11 reptiles, and one amphibian were found entangled in debris during the cleanup
  • 8,321 divers took part in underwater cleanup efforts and cleaned up 161,513 pounds of debris over 1,000 miles of underwater terrain. An average of 20 pounds of trash collected per diver.
  • 247,099 debris items related to derelict fishing gear were removed during the cleanup. This includes crab/lobster/fish traps, fishing line, fishing lures/light sticks, fishing nets and rope

Most of the common type of debris collected during ICC 2007

Debris Coastal
Cigarettes/Cigarette Filters 27.2% 28.0%
Food Wrappers/Containers 9.6% 6.6%
Caps/Lids 9.1% 5.8%
Bags 8.1% 6.2%
Beverage Bottles (Plastic) 2 liters or less 6.8% 6.6%
Cups/Plates/Forks/Knives/Spoons 5.2% 5.4%
Beverage Bottles (Glass) 4.8% 6.6%
Cigar Tips 4.5%
Straws/Stirrers 4.5% 3.0%
Beverage Cans 4.2% 9.6%
Fishing line 6.0%
Percentage of total debris collected 84.1% 83.9%

How do the Oceans get trashed ?

  • Shoreline and Recreational Activities: The majority of marine debris comes from land-based activities such as fast food consumption, beachgoers, picnics, sports and recreation, festivals, as well as litter washed from streets, parking lots and storm drains.
  • Ocean/Waterway Activities: Recreational fishing and boating,commercial fishing, cargo/military/cruise ship operations and offshore industries such as oil drilling can produce marine debris.
  • Smoking-Related Activities: Improper disposal of cigarette filters,cigar tips and tobacco product packaging is common on both land and sea.
  • Dumping Activities: Legal and illegal dumping of building materials or large household items can result in debris.
  • Medical/Personal Hygiene: This debris can result from people improperly disposing of waste in toilets and city streets. Since medical and personal hygiene debris often enters the waste stream through sewer systems, its presence on the beach can indicate the presence of other, unseen pollutants.

Here are some photographs of ICC 2007






Some video clips of ICC 2007 are available here and here.


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