Have you ever walked along a beautiful beach and been surprised to find a piece of plastic at your feet? You might be even more surprised to learn that together with volunteers like you, we’ve picked up more than 220 million pounds of trash in the last 30 years. And the problem goes deeper than what you’re seeing on the beaches. Scientists estimate that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic is entering our ocean every year. If we don’t act now, there could be a pound of plastic for every 3 pounds of fish in the ocean within the next decade. Ocean Conservancy has been at the forefront of the trash free seas challenge for more than 30 years. Trash in the ocean has serious consequences for all of us, but there is hope. With your help, we can solve the ocean plastic crisis together.
pounds of trash collected since 1985
volunteers since 1985
We need your help to keep millions of pounds of trash from our ocean—help us achieve the vision of a healthy, vibrant ocean free of trash. Take a stand to clean up the ocean. Ask your Senator to turn the tide on ocean plastics.
Ocean trash affects the health of wildlife, people and local economies. Trash in the water and on the shore can be mistaken as food by wildlife, or entangle animals with lethal consequences. Plastic also attracts and concentrates other pollutants from surrounding seawater, posing a contamination risk to those species that then eat it. Scientists are studying the impacts of that contamination on fish and shellfish and as well as the possible impact it may have on human health as well.
“Plastics now pollute all dimensions of our oceans from the sea surface to the seafloor, on remote beaches and in Arctic sea ice. The impact ocean plastics have on marine species is well documented, but increasingly scientists are concerned about the potential threat of plastics to species at the top of the marine food chain: humans.”Director, Trash Free Seas, Ocean Conservancy
From plankton to whales, animals across ocean ecosystems have been contaminated by plastic. Plastic has been found in 59% of sea birds like albatross and pelicans, in 100% of sea turtle species, and more than 25% of fish sampled from seafood markets around the world.
“Whether we work alone on a deserted beach or with a small group of our friends, we have the knowledge that we are part of a larger congregation. Our statistics join those of others in far off places we may never get to visit.”Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, organizer of Oregon’s first statewide coastal cleanup in 1984. Excerpt from Hansen’s Preface in Cleaning America’s Beaches: 1988 National Beach Cleanup Results
Marine debris isn’t an ocean problem—it’s a people problem. That means people are the solution. Ocean Conservancy is committed to keeping our beaches and ocean trash free. For more than 30 years we have organized the International Coastal Cleanup, where nearly 12 million volunteers from 153 countries have worked together to collect more than 220 million pounds of trash. And we’re not the only ones who care about ocean trash: Every day, all over the world, concerned people take the problem into their own hands by cleaning up their local waterways.
Tackling the problem of plastic in the ocean begins on land. Reduction in plastics use, especially of single-use disposable products, and the collection and recycling of plastics in developing countries can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters the ocean.
Ocean Conservancy has been bringing together passionate ocean lovers and helping them contribute to a vision for trash free seas.
“It’s about people – people all over the world who care about the health of our planet and who put that care into action. It’s about cooperation and coalition, sometimes between the unlikeliest of groups who, setting aside their differing viewpoints, work together for a larger common goal.”
Ocean Conservancy is taking bold action, working to stop the flow of trash at the source, before it has a chance to reach the water to choke and entangle dolphins or endanger sea turtles, or ruin our beaches and depress our local economies.
Ocean Conservancy is leading the way with practical solutions that:
We need your help to keep millions of pounds of trash from our ocean—help us achieve the vision of a healthy, vibrant ocean free of trash. Take a stand to clean up the ocean. Ask your Senator to turn the tide on ocean plastics.Take Action
Preventing 8 million tons of plastics from entering the ocean every year is a BIG job! Want to help? Donate now to help bring trash free seas solutions to life. And, please consider making a monthly donation to support our ongoing work to keep our beaches and ocean trash free. We can’t keep millions of pounds of trash from our ocean without your commitment.Donate Today
Tell Secretary Zinke to protect our national marine monuments.Take Action