Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Millions of Pounds of Trash!

The Ocean Conservancy has just released the results of its 2008 International Coastal Cleanup - and it's pretty gross. On a single day last September, nearly 400,000 volunteers at 6,485 sites in 104 countries and locations picked up trash along the world's ocean and waterways.

The yuckiest statistic for me: Volunteers picked up more than 1.3 million cigarette butts in the USA alone.

Cigarette butts were closely followed by plastic bags and food wrappers / containers as the most prevalent types of trash documented.

Not only does trash render our beautiful coastline esthetically unappealing, but marine debris also sickens, injures, or kills large amounts of marine animals. The Ocean Conservancy states that marine debris "degrades ocean health and compromises the ocean's ability to adapt to climate change."

There are many beach clean-ups that take place on the North Island throughout the year, but I would love to see clean-ups become a thing of the past. If we want to make a commitment to healthy oceans and healthy communities, we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle. If we can't avoid making trash - we need to make sure that we dispose of it in an appropriate manner so that it doesn't end up in the oceans in the first place.

Until ocean clean-up events are rendered a thing of the past, make sure you stay tuned to this blog for announcements of upcoming clean up events planned for the North Island. Check out the Ocean Conservancy for the full report of the 2008 clean-up and to find out how you can take part in 2009.

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