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The 2017 International Coastal Cleanup Results Are In!

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers collected over 20 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide.

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The 2018 International Coastal Cleanup report is here!

Last September, extraordinary volunteers from all around the world came together to clean up our beaches and waterways during the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). We are thrilled to share with you the results of their efforts in the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup Report!

The ICC began in 1986 with 2,800 volunteers picking up 124 tons of debris in Texas, and it would have been impossible to imagine what the event would become more than three decades later. Since the inception, nearly 13 million volunteers have collected almost 250 million pounds of debris from waterways and coastlines. In 2017, the momentum of ICC continued to grow: nearly 800,000 volunteers partook to collect over 20 million pounds of trash. Collectively, volunteers walked almost 19 thousand miles of coastline spanning over 106 countries. In this global movement, volunteers worldwide were unified in their goal—to curb the inputs of debris into the ocean.

The most promising part of last year’s International Coastal Cleanup is the incredibly impressive amount of data collected. Volunteers used Clean Swell and printed data forms to keep track of the items they were finding—and the results speak volumes. 20,824,689 items were recorded by volunteers, demonstrating the increased understanding that data are what drive solutions. Because of this conscious effort, scientists can use these data for their work on marine debris, policies can be made to curb the tide on trash and our ocean’s health can improve. Thanks to the ICC volunteer’s present and historic emphasis on data, we have been able to identify the 2017 ICC as unique—for the first year since the beginning of the ICC, the Top Ten items are all plastic. In the past, beverage cans, glass bottles and metal bottle caps have all seen their days in the top ten, but today, it’s ALL plastic. Remarkably, volunteers collected enough cigarette butts to line the distance of five marathons, enough balloons to lift a great white shark and enough plastic beverage bottles to fill over five standard swimming pools.

Great work, everyone on another historic year! See you again in September. Use our new and improved map to find a cleanup near you!

Looking for more great ways to help create Trash Free Seas®? Try our suggestions below:

  • Check out the 2018 ICC Report and our infographics from the report to learn more about the most pervasive types of trash from last year.
  • Download Clean Swell, our app, and let us know what types of trash you’re collecting from your local beach. The app is available for both iPhone and Android.
  • Take the pledge today: promise our ocean that as often as you can, you’ll say “no thanks” to single-use plastics, and commit to making mindful choices for the sake of marine wildlife. Reduce your purchases of single-use disposable goods. Purchasing reusable items minimizes the chance that throwaway plastics make it to beaches, waterways or the ocean.
  • Sign up for this year’s ICC!

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