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A Voice for our Ocean

This Earth Day, Join the Global Movement for Clean Beaches and Waterways Using Clean Swell App

Revamped cleanup app collects millions of data points on ocean-bound plastic each year, informs policy solutions

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WASHINGTON D.C. – Ahead of Earth Day, Ocean Conservancy is inviting ocean lovers everywhere to join the global movement for clean beaches and waterways using the revamped Clean Swell® app. Clean Swell is the official app of the International Coastal Cleanup® (ICC), which has mobilized more than 17 million volunteers since 1986 to collect over 350 million pounds of trash.

“We know that trash travels: whether you’re hundreds of miles from the nearest coast or steps away from the water, joining a cleanup makes a difference for our ocean,” said ICC manager Sarah Weller. “By using Clean Swell to collect cleanup data, you can make an even bigger impact. For over 35 years, millions of ICC volunteers have recorded each item they collect, helping Ocean Conservancy create the world’s largest marine debris database and inform upstream policy solutions to the ocean plastics crisis. This Earth Day, we’re encouraging ocean lovers everywhere to use Clean Swell to join the ICC.”

Data submitted through the app instantaneously uploads to Ocean Conservancy’s global Ocean Trash Database. These data have been used by scientists, environmentalists, governments and others to better understand and characterize the global plastic pollution problem. In 2020 and 2021 alone, at least 20 peer-reviewed scientific publications cited ICC data. They have also been used to support policies that tackle single-use plastics: in recent months, ICC data were cited in stories about Illinois’ ban on foam foodware; Hawaii’s proposed plastic bottle ban; and Laguna Beach’s recently passed balloon ban.

Since the app was first launched in 2016, Clean Swell has become an invaluable part of the ICC, with users from over 150 countries. In 2022, the app was redesigned and features an improved interface that makes recording trash easier for users. The redesign also allows users to increase their impact by connecting to Ocean Conservancy’s action center directly through the app. Over 25,000 people have downloaded the app since the redesign.

“We are proud to partner with the Ocean Conservancy in bringing Clean Swell to life,” said Roy Yang, CEO of Giant Machines, the software design company that led the redesign of the app. “As value-aligned partners who share a north star in having measurable positive impact on our Earth’s oceans, Giant Machines takes this mission seriously. We are thrilled we helped co-create an engaging mobile app to keep people engaged in doing their part to clean our oceans.”

Clean Swell users can also earn badges based on the different types of trash found and number of cleanups completed, and share their accomplishments on social media. The app can be used without WiFi or cellular service and is available in a dozen languages. Clean Swell is available for download on the App Store and on Google Play.


Note to editors:

  • Ocean Conservancy experts are available for comment and interview upon request. Photos of Clean Swell are available here, and photos and b-roll of cleanups are available here.

Media Contact

Madeline Black




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