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Every year thousands of tons of garbage winds up in the oceans, with at least 60% of that being composed of plastic material. Plastics, especially, last a very long time in the ocean and are in such abundance that there are 46,000 individual pieces of plastic litter for every square mile of ocean! This is a dire situation for the health of the earth’s oceans, which directly impacts the health of its people.

It’s time to celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day and help make the planet a cleaner, happier place for humans, plants, and animals.

History of International Coastal Cleanup Day

International Coastal Cleanup Day was established by the Ocean Conservancy, an organization that works to help protect the ocean from the challenges it faces every year. It was established in the United States on the west coast of Washington State in 1986. Now, each year, it is scheduled to be celebrated on the third Saturday of the month of September.

The trash in the water impacts the planet on many levels, including harming wildlife, humans, and impacting the livelihood of those who work on the ocean. It causes economic damage by affecting tourism and recreation and the money they bring into those communities that are the ocean shore.

The Ocean Conservancy knows that solving these issues requires bold initiatives and eliminating the sources of the trash that damages the ocean.

Empowering people to take an active role in the preservation and cleaning up of the ocean are important parts of helping the conservation of the ocean. By spreading tips and techniques to help reduce trash they help people everywhere aid the cleanup of our oceans.

In the past 30 years, the efforts toward cleaning up the oceans have increased through International Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers from over 100 countries work together on this day to help make a difference in the way the beaches, coasts, seas and oceans are able to survive and thrive.

How to Celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day

Many creative options to celebrate this day exist! Consider these ideas or come up with some of your own:

Hit the Beach–with Garbage Bags

Start with something as simple as taking a day at the beach and carrying a roll of garbage bags. Clean up the mess on the beach and help to reduce the amount of garbage that gets into the ocean by hauling it away.

Host a International Coastal Cleanup Day Event

During the years of this day, more than 12 million volunteers have collected over 220 million pounds of trash from the world’s beaches, rivers, lakes and coastlines. Join the wave by gathering some friends and community members to take a trip to the water and get cleaning on this day!

It’s not even necessary to live by an ocean or sea, since all waterways lead to the ocean eventually. Head over to a local riverbed, lakeside or even a canal or pond that could use a bit of attention. With garbage bags, plastic gloves and trash-picker sticks in hand, send groups of people out to have fun making the earth a much nicer place for people, plants and wildlife!

Access this cleanup guide for help in organizing an event for the day.

Download the Clean Swell App

It’s more fun and encouraging to spend time cleaning up beaches when it’s possible to see the impact being made individually and collectively! That’s why the Clean Swell App was created by the Ocean Conservancy, to track trash cleanup. Users of the app can use it to:

  • Track the distance of beach they have cleaned up
  • See the total weight of the trash they’ve collected
  • Share cleanup results with friends and family on social media
  • Join with others to create global trash solutions by providing information from the local area

It’s a great way to do a few small things that participate in a global effort to clean up the world’s coastlines!

Check Out The Ocean Decade

Because the oceans are in such a dire situation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has seen fit to organize The Ocean Decade for the 2020s. This effort educates and coordinates individuals, governments and corporations to work together toward cleaning up the oceans in a variety of ways.

Get Resources From the Ocean Conservancy

A great way to get ideas would be to check in with the Ocean Conservancy to get tips and tricks to help you be more conscientious about your lifestyle and the effect it has on the ocean.

The Ocean Conservancy serves as a voice for the ocean, speaking of the issues that aren’t often represented through social networking, publicized updates, and challenges like asking your waitress to skip the straw for your drink.

Plastics are extremely hazardous to marine life, killing more than a million birds and over 100,000 seals, turtles, and whales, and an immense number of fishes in our ocean. International Coastal Cleanup Day encourages people to get out to the planet’s beaches and help to limit this problem by cleaning up the garbage that has either washed up on shore or that has been left by visitors each day.

Even the smallest of efforts, done together all over the world, help move the future towards a trash-free ocean. International Coastal Cleanup Day is the perfect chance to really make a difference, and help others to do the same!

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