WASHINGTON, DC – As the District continues to celebrate the Year of the Anacostia, area restaurants join the growing straw-free movement and news of the ocean plastic crisis flows daily, Ocean Conservancy invites D.C. residents to #suituptocleanup Kingman Island at its flagship International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) event on September 15th. More than 500 volunteers turned out to last year’s Cleanup collecting nearly 4,000 pounds of trash, and early numbers indicate the turnout will be even greater this year.
“From straw bans to viral footage of ocean trash washing ashore around the world, people are paying attention to the problem of ocean plastic and want to take action,” said Ocean Conservancy Executive Vice President Emily Woglom. “D.C. may not be on the coast, but the Anacostia River is just 100 short miles away from the Atlantic, and trash travels. That’s why we’re encouraging all our neighbors to don their outdoor best and #suituptocleanup Kingman.”
Ocean Conservancy’s newly launched #suituptocleanup campaign captures the wonder and whimsy of the ocean through colorful imagery, and encourages people around the world to suit up and head to their local beach or waterway as part of Ocean Conservancy’s 33rd annual ICC.
As in years past, the flagship D.C. event will feature live music, lawn games, and a “weird finds” contest (past entries included a Polaroid camera, bowling ball, fire hose, and Incredible Hulk costume glove, to name a few). Volunteers will receive t-shirts and other giveaways; and gloves, bug spray and sunscreen are all provided, along with a light breakfast and lunch.
New this year, Ocean Conservancy has commissioned an eight-foot, hollow metal sculpture of a painted turtle—a local turtle species— from Environmental Sculptures, and will install it to contain and display select trash items at Kingman Island. The sculpture will be a permanent resident of the park, which is managed by The Living Classrooms Foundation, a longtime partner. Also new this year, volunteers will be able to #suitup with ocean-themed props and costumes at our photo booth.
Launched in 1986 on a single beach in Texas, the ICC has mobilized nearly 13 million volunteers and removed 250 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterway worldwide. In addition to removing trash, volunteers contribute to the world’s largest database on marine debris by logging each trash item using paper data cards or in real-time using Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app. Scientists, researchers, industry leaders and policymakers rely on Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index to inform policy and craft solutions to the growing ocean plastics crisis.
Every year, millions of tons of trash—including an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste—flow into the ocean, entangling wildlife, polluting beaches, and even infiltrating the food chain. Because plastics never fully biodegrade but rather break up into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics, they accumulate in the marine environment. Scientists predict that without concerted global action, there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fin fish in the ocean by 2025.
“Given its scale, we will need to implement a suite of solutions to stem the tide of ocean plastic, including investing in waste collection and management in target geographies, reducing our reliance on single-use plastics, and rethinking how we produce and consume plastic products,” said Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy’s director of Trash Free Seas®. “But cleaning up our beaches and waterways is an important piece of that puzzle, and the Anacostia River—home to our capital city—is a great place to do that.”
The D.C. International Coastal Cleanup runs from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturday, September 15. Visit www.DCcoastalcleanup.org to register.
Note to editors: Ocean Conservancy experts are available for comment. Infographics depicting data from the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup, released in June, are available here.
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.