NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

ICC volunteers cleaned 10 million lbs of trash from our coasts


By: Dianna Parker

One rubber chicken, 117 mattresses, 4,159 candles, and 689,274 utensils. What do all of these things have in common?

They’re all marine debris collected last September at the Ocean Conservancy’s 2012 International Coastal Cleanup®, sponsored in part by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

The numbers are in: more than 550,000 volunteers came together to collect 10 million pounds of marine debris.  In the United States, volunteers found enough bottles that, when stacked end to end, equal the height of 1,000 Empire State Buildings. That’s a lot of trash on our beaches and in our waterways!

This litter is threatening our marine environment, economy, and health, and the problem will only get worse unless we change the way we consume and dispose of products. There are solutions, and we can prevent litter from ending up in the ocean.

So here’s a challenge: the next time you use a throw-away item: a bag, bottle, or utensil, answer the question, “Where it’s going?” How will you keep your items from becoming litter in our oceans, rivers, and streams?

Head to Ocean Conservancy’s data release page for some neat infographics on last year’s trash haul. Here are the top 10 types volunteers found this year:


Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

3 thoughts on “ICC volunteers cleaned 10 million lbs of trash from our coasts

  1. Pingback: Oregon Marine Debris Team

  2. Pingback: Praias de Salvador terão "super" mutirão de limpeza | Fala Surf

  3. Fascinating – and disturbing – reading. Excellent graphic. Rather than reblog, I have posted this on my conservation page as it stands. Hope that’s ok. Best from Rolling Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas

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