It’s Your Environment Too: International Coastal Cleanup Day

Image by Justin Tallaksen

It’s your environment too. You live on this planet and depend on this planet for your survival, therefore you play a key role in ensuring its survival as well. That is why International Coastal Cleanup Day (September 25th) is a cause everyone should be aware of and contribute to, no matter where you are in the world.

Now, ideally we wouldn’t have any plastic floating in our oceans, but the fact is we do and it didn’t get there on its own. That’s why Ocean Conservancy has been active in cleaning up the oceans and coastlines for the past 25 years.

Last year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day united almost 500,000 volunteers in 108 countries around the world. They came together around the cause of cleaning up the coast. An astounding 7.4 million pounds of debris was collected including over 10 million individual pieces of trash.

For a more detailed report, read their “2010 Marine Debris Report: Trash Travels“.

In alignment with raising people’s awareness about plastics and the ocean, I wanted to share this next video. It is a documentary called “836 Plastic Bottles: A Water-Shed Moment“. It’s about the continually increasing number of water bottles and plastic products that are produced, only to end up in the ocean.

The number 836 was chosen because that is apparently the average number of water bottles used by a family of four every year. That’s about 200 plastic water bottles per person or a little more than half a bottle of water every day.

Do you use plastic water bottles? If so, why? Is it a convenience factor? Why buy water when you can bring your own at a fraction of the cost (both to you and environment)? Do you own a stainless steel or other re-usable water bottle?

I know we try to bring water with us when we go places. We know we are going to be thirsty, so we try to plan ahead. I’ll admit it doesn’t always happen, but if you do find yourself using a plastic water bottle, please be sure to recycle it. No need to compound the damage done.

A good rule of thumb as laid out by the Plastic Pollution Coalition in this next video is, “Reuse or Refuse Plastic“. If everyone did just that, we’d seriously cut down on the volume of plastic in the world and in our oceans.

So this Saturday, September 25th, join people from around the globe for International Coastal Cleanup Day. You can sign up to clean up here or for those of you in Southern California, check out details about California’s Coastal Cleanup Day here.

Additionally, please keep your own contribution to coastal pollution (and other pollution) in mind when preparing to attend, while traveling to the coast and while attending cleanup day activities. Here are a few simple tips:

a) Take public transportation.

b) If you live close to the coast, ride your bike or walk.

c) If you want to bring food and/or water, please don’t bring plastic bottles or bags with you. Find and use re-usable containers that you can bring home and wash when you are done.

Especially considering the devastation caused from the Gulf oil spill and the increasing volume of plastic littering our oceans, beaches and harming wildlife, it is important to take a little time from your busy schedule and see how you can contribute. Remember, it is your environment too!


  • Rich Massingham

    Great post Tara. It sickens to see this. As someone who truly cares about nature and the environment, I can’t wrap my head around those that choose to pollute. These seas of garbage are not accidents, they are quite simply a bi-product of poor choices made by the ignorant. Disgusting. Hope everyone can get out and do their part to support this cause. Every action counts! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Emily

    Wow, it really hit me in the 2nd video when he talked about being on an island you’ve never heard of in a group of island’s you’ve never heard of and plastic is still washing up. On our Panama island property in the Gulf of Chiriqui, we don’t see that yet, but if there is not a drastic change, so beach will be spared. I hope that people hear about Coastal Cleanup Day and participate.

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