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Ocean Currents

Be an Ocean Hero

Sign up to clean up at the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup.

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© Emily Brauner

If there’s one thing all superheroes have in common, it’s that they wear some kind of costume to signal that they’re ready for the fight ahead—a cape or armor, a mask or special amulets. The same can be said of real life heroes, too. Doctors suit up to go into surgery, firefighters suit up before entering blazing buildings, just to name a few. People suit up to get things done, to change the world, to take on problems of epic scale.

Unfortunately, ocean plastic is one such problem. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year. That’s the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic every minute, every hour, every day going into the ocean. Ocean plastic doesn’t just pollute our beaches and coastlines; it also impacts more than 800 species of marine life. And with plastic showing up in places as remote as Arctic ice and flowing into rivers hundreds of miles before reaching the ocean, we can’t just focus on the beach. We have to fight ocean plastic on the beach…and beyond.

We need YOU to join the fight against ocean trash. This weekend, people all over the world will head to their local waterways during the 34th annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). For those who have already signed up to clean up, we are so excited to see you there. Haven’t signed up yet? It’s not too late—check out a cleanup location near you!

Last year, we urged people all over the world to “Suit Up to Clean Up” for our 33rd annual ICC. More than 1 million volunteers heard our call and headed to their local beach, river or lake; rolled up their sleeves; and picked up trash—approximately 23 million pounds of it in just one day. Volunteers picked up staggering numbers of trash, including 5.7 million cigarette butts (our most-collected item), 3.7 million food wrappers and 2 million pieces of plastic cutlery.

These are our highest volunteer numbers since the first ICC launched in 1986, and it’s nothing short of heroic. Let’s keep up the momentum this year—every single person helps!

On behalf of everyone at Ocean Conservancy, thank you for doing your part in this global fight for a clean, healthy ocean free of  trash. Whether on a river in Arkansas or sun-kissed beach in Bali, everyone, everywhere can be an ocean hero.

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