Ocean Conservancy today released its annual report with data from its 2006 International Coastal Cleanup. Plastics waste is featured prominently, but this really is an indictment of littering and other bad consumer behavior. People throw away an amazing amount of junk, and too many seem to believe that once it leaves their house or car or hand, it magically disappears. Or they don't care.
The 2006 Cleanup was the 21st annual Cleanup conducted by Ocean Conservancy and was made possible by the 358,617 dedicated volunteers around the world in 68 countries. The volunteers not only removed 7,000,000 pounds of debris from the ocean, rivers, lakes and waterways, but they also recorded what they found. An analysis of that data is completed by Ocean Conservancy to provide the most detailed picture of marine debris currently available. It also provides insight to where the trash comes from and how it ends up in the ocean and waterways. “At a time when so many of us feel compelled to address environmental challenges that are large and complex, the International Coastal Cleanup provides a direct, tangible way to make a difference for one of the largest problems we face trash in our ocean and waterways,” said Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy. “The health of our ocean is a metaphor for the health of our planet and ultimately of human beings who are sustained by the environment. It is time for each one of us to help improve the health of our planet, and the International Coastal Cleanup provides the perfect venue.” In the 2006 Cleanup, 1,074 animals were found entangled in marine debris by our volunteers including a one-year old seal that was entangled in fishing gear along Hobe Sound, Florida. Of all the animals found entangled this year the seal was the only survivor. Dangerous debris items including discarded fishing gear, ropes, grocery and trash bags as well as small pieces of plastic are responsible for thousands of animal deaths due to entanglement or ingestion.The next cleanup is scheduled for Sept. 15. Finally, here's a list of the top 10 debris items found in the 2006 cleanup: Cigarettes/cigarette filters 1,901,519 Food wrappers and containers 768,115 Caps/lids 704,085 Bags 691,048 Beverage bottles (plastic) 570,299 Beverage bottles (glass) 420,800 Cups/plates/forks/knives/spoons 353,217 Straws/stirrers 349,653 Beverage cans 327,494 Cigar tips 186,258