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30th Annual International Coastal Cleanup to Take Place September 19

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In one month, hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world will gather to clean up their favorite beaches, lakes and rivers. The International Coastal Cleanup will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Saturday, September 19, and events are planned from Ecuador to India, Belgium to South Africa.

The International Coastal Cleanup has grown exponentially over the past three decades. All told, it has mobilized more than 10 million people in 150 countries, with over 500,000 joining last year to pick up trash on foot, in boats, and by SCUBA. Each piece of trash is carefully documented, helping Ocean Conservancy identify where trash is coming, and track the problem over time to inform upstream solutions.

"Ocean trash is not a new problem, but it is certainly a growing one," said Nicholas Mallos, Director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program. "Fortunately, the scale of the effort to address it through cleanups, waste management, and smarter policies is growing as well. In order to turn the tide, we have to address plastic pollution at every point in its lifecycle, and that is exactly what Ocean Conservancy is trying to do, informed in large part by the information International Coastal Cleanup volunteers provide."

The body of data collected over 30 years by International Coastal Cleanup volunteers has helped to shape state and federal trash policies, and informed the recent burst in scientific research on marine debris. It also guides to Ocean Conservancy's work with industry, science and conservation leaders through the Trash Free Seas Alliance®.

In 1987 Ocean Conservancy published one of the first studies to identify plastics as a significant threat in the ocean, Plastics in the Ocean: More than a Litter Problem. That report helped illustrate the problem for the US Congress, which soon enforced restrictions against dumping plastic trash at sea by adopting Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. More recently, Cleanup data informed passage of the 2006 Marine Debris Research, Reduction, and Prevention Act, as well as California's state marine debris action plan.

To find a cleanup near you, go to www.signuptocleanup.org

The 2015 International Coastal Cleanup, by the numbers:

  • 561,895 people picked up 16,186,859 pounds of trash along nearly 13,360 miles of coastlines.
  • Volunteers found:
    • More than 2 million cigarette butts, 1.3 million food wrappers, nearly a million plastic bottles and bottle caps, and nearly a million plastic bags.
    • One plastic dinosaur, eight bowling balls, five rubber ducks, and 26 barbecues.

Partners:

The Coca-Cola Company has supported Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup for the past 20 years. Last year, Coca-Cola activated a global employee engagement campaign to encourage participation in the Cleanup. Over 7,000 Coca-Cola system associates, their friends and families volunteered, with more than 150,000 pounds of litter collected. As part of its commitment to address global climate change, Bank of America has supported the Cleanup since 2002, with thousands of employees participating in Cleanup events all around the world. Other national sponsors include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hollomon Price Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., The Dow Chemical Company, Glad and Brunswick Public Foundation.

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today's greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

CONTACT: Ryan Ono, Ocean Conservancy 202-351-0470 media@oceanconservancy.orgSource:Ocean Conservancy