Each year, the Ocean Conservancy coordinates the International Coastal Cleanup event. On the third Saturday of September, or thereabouts, people all over the globe participate not just in a simple cleanup of beaches, but a large scale effort to collect debris on shore, in the water, and even via scuba dives. Volunteers don’t just pick up trash either; they document, item by item, all the debris they collect, down to the individual cigarette butt. This is what sets the ICC apart–it is a data-driven endeavor creating a marine debris snapshot from sites across the globe.
The Ocean Conservancy is the umbrella group coordinating the worldwide effort, and they, in turn, rely on countries, states, and local groups to organize the efforts on the ground. September may seem a long way off, but many states are already beginning to organize cleanups and recruit volunteers. You can even organize your own local cleanup! Massachusetts has begun publicizing their efforts, known as coastsweep. If you’re up here in Mass, check their list for existing events (I’ve signed up for a cleanup on Salisbury Beach), or suggest a cleanup of your local beach.
As new events in various states are added, I will keep you posted. Spending time on the beach in the name of science is close to every Seanetters heart, after all. Here’s to data-driven beach trips!