A Voice for Our Ocean

Ocean Conservancy and Discovery Channel Kick Off Shark Week with Nationwide Beach Cleanups

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Washington, DCIn celebration of Shark Week, Ocean Conservancy has partnered with Discovery Channel to host beach cleanups on Saturday, July 21 in five major U.S. cities. Shark Week’s 30th anniversary kicks off the following evening, July 22, at 8PM PT/ET on Discovery Channel.

“Shark Week and Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup have been bringing people closer to the ocean—whether on screen or on shorelines—for many years, and I am so excited to bring these two fantastic projects together,” said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program. “Trash and plastics in particular affect more than 800 ocean species; so to put it simply, if you care about sharks, you should care about keeping our beaches and waterways clean.”

Open to the public, cleanup events will be held in Santa Monica, Chicago, New York, Miami and Annapolis, in partnership with Ocean Conservancy’s international Coastal Cleanup (ICC) coordinators in those areas. As with all ICC events, volunteers will collect trash and log their findings in Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index—the world’s most comprehensive database of marine debris.

Shark Week comes less than a month after Ocean Conservancy released the results of its 2017 International Coastal Cleanup, showing that for the first time since the inception of the ICC more than 30 years ago, all ten of the top-ten items collected by volunteers around the world were made of plastic. In all, 789,138 volunteers in more than 100 countries collected nearly 20.5 million pounds (or 9.3 million kilograms) of trash. As in previous years, cigarette butts—which contain plastic filters—topped the list at approximately 2.4 million collected; with food wrappers (1.7 million), plastic beverage bottles (1.6 million), plastic bottle caps (1.1 million), and plastic grocery bags (757,523) rounding out the top five. When looking at grocery bags and other plastic bags (trash bags, newspaper bags, etc.) together, more than 1.5 million were collected in total.

With these latest results, nearly 13 million volunteers have collected nearly 250 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterway worldwide since 1986, when Ocean Conservancy first mobilized the annual International Coastal Cleanup.

To sign up for a Shark Week cleanup, visit

The 2018 International Coastal Cleanup will be held on September 15th. Visit to register and take part in keeping our beaches, coasts and waterways free of trash and plastic.


Nicholas Mallos is available for interviews upon request.

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, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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