International Coastal Cleanup
Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the world's largest volunteer effort for ocean's health. Held every third Saturday of September of each year, thousands of volunteers from around the globe participate, clearing tons of trash from coastlines, rivers and lakes and recording every piece of trash collected. Nearly 650,000 volunteers from 92 countries and locations in over 5,500 sites participated in the 2013 ICC. They picked up 12,329,332 pounds of marine debris and covered 12,914 miles of beaches, waterways and underwater areas. Over the past 27 years, more than 9 million volunteers from 152 countries and locations have shown their enduring alliance for a trash free seas.
What makes the ICC unique, aside from the simultaneous and coordinated global execution is the emphasis on organized scientific data collection. Volunteers are requested, not only to pick up litter but also to identify and record the rubbish in a standardized data card. The debris information generated is encoded into a database for analysis by pollution specialists who are racing against time to develop solutions to the marine debris problem.
A new data form released by Ocean Conservancy in 2013 helps volunteers record not just what objects they find but also their material composition. Going forward, this new information will be instrumental in helping determine the effects that specific materials are having on ocean habitats. By understanding the items collected in greater detail, scientists and ocean advocates will be able to identify the best remedies and advocate for solutions that will lead to a healthier ocean.
“The ability to pinpoint the types and amounts of material on beaches and in the ocean – not just the kinds of products – makes the data more informative when supporting marine debris policy,” said Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy’s conservation biologist and marine debris specialist.
Marine debris is one of the world's pervasive problem which imparts a variety of serious impacts: loss of water quality, destruction of marine habitats, entanglement or ingestion of marine debris by birds, turtles and mammals, loss of revenue in tourism; poses health risks, and impairs ships and boats. It is also one of the causes of major flooding in the metropolis during heavy rains for it clogs the drainage system and impedes the flow in rivers and waterways.