Today is Coastal Cleanup Day

Every year since 1985, tens of thousands of volunteers have joined Coastal Cleanup Day, the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean up waterways and the ocean. This year’s cleanup will take place on September 21.

The work of volunteers is a testament to the care and concern they have to maintaining our beached and oceans clean and healthy.

The annual coastal cleanup is now a global phenomenon. Hosted by the Ocean Conservancy, in 2012 alone, nearly 600,000 volunteers worldwide removed more than 10 million pounds of waste.

What is clear from the study of the scientific literature, is that plastic waste in the ocean is of the greatest concern to the health of the marine environment.

And beyond the environmental costs, plastic pollution also has economic impacts. A recent study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that California communities are spending nearly half a billion dollars annually in preventing trash from polluting the state’s beaches, rivers and ocean.

One solution is for everyone to do their part, including producers of the highly littered plastic products. Producers, cities and towns, and individuals must share responsibility for ensuring that producers are not making plastic products that kill marine life or end up polluting the ocean, city streets and creating possible health risk.

As individuals we can also help by choosing reusable products and packaging wherever possible, by recycling whatever plastic we use, and by helping to cleanup the litter that escapes or is irresponsibly discarded.

But for now, you can do your part, while enjoying a day at the beach, by joining Coastal Cleanup Day.

Source: Leila Monroe | NRDC