For more than three decades, people in over 100 countries have come together on the third Saturday of September for International Coastal Cleanup Day in pursuit of a common goal: to collect and document the trash littering the coastlines. This year’s cleanup is set for Saturday, September 21.
What Is International Coastal Cleanup Day
Since the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) was founded in 1986, volunteers from more than 100 countries have collected over 300 million pounds of trash from beaches, waterways and streets around the globe. The day marks one of the world’s largest preservation and protection efforts for oceans and beaches.
Why It Matters
ICC volunteers don’t just pick up trash. Volunteers actually record each item collected in order to identify ways to eliminate ocean trash in the future.
The event also raises awareness about the plastic pollution problem we’re facing. At the 2018 cleanup, more than 1 million volunteers tracked the 23 million pounds of trash they collected and recorded more than 97,457,000 individual items, according to the 2018 ICC results. The most collected items included: cigarette butts, food wrappers, straws and stirrers, plastic cutlery, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic bags, lids, cups and plates.
How You Can Get Involved
How many times have you passed one of those items while you were walking down the street and said to yourself, “I’ll pick it up later.” Did you pick it up later? Whether you live by the ocean or hundreds of miles inland, there’s no time like the present to make a change. So, instead of walking past a straw, a bottle, or a lid, we invite you to join us to take part in the global movement!
- Join a local cleanup on Saturday, September 21! You can find a location near you on Ocean Conservancy’s website.
- Don’t see a cleanup in your area? Start one! All it takes to start a cleanup is a trash bag and a little ambition. You can download Ocean Conservancy’s app, Clean Swell, and take pictures to document the trash you find and collect. If you’re planning a cleanup, make sure to add it to the ICC interactive map.
- Take 3 For The Sea! Anywhere you go, pick up three pieces of garbage. Remember, small efforts can lead to a big change.