Hundreds of thousands of people every year scour the globe's beaches and waterways in an effort to counter the effects of litter and marine debris. These beach cleanups not only beautify beaches they help quantify and qualify the nature of the litter and marine debris problem. Government agencies across the globe use these data to target efforts to combat marine debris.
The largest beach cleaning event is operated by the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup. Nearly five hundred thousand volunteers in 2009 from 108 countries collected 7.4 million pounds of trash.
The report from the beach cleanup zeroes in on the startling impacts of ocean trash on wildlife and ocean ecosystems (and) identifies marine debris as one of the stresses compromising the ocean's ability to adapt to climate change.
"...the report's recommendations provide a roadmap for eliminating marine debris by reducing it at the source, changing the behaviors that cause it, and supporting better policy. Armed with knowledge about the most prevalent components of marine debris, elected officials can make informed policy decisions, community leaders can tailor and expand recycling and other trash-reduction programs, corporate decision-makers can improve technology and reduce packaging, and individuals can recycle, reuse, or properly dispose of trash to keep these items out of the ocean in the first place."
Learn more about the International Coastal Cleanup.