A look at some of the strange things—and the sheer volume of debris—found during the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup.
During Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup, hundreds of thousands of people—including friends, neighbors, co-workers, and families—work together in spirit all over the world along rivers, streams, lakes and the ocean. This one-of-a-kind experience inspires actions and solutions all year long to clean up trash in the water—and prevent it from reaching the ocean in the first place.
Washington, D.C.: Ocean Conservancy’s flagship event at Anacostia Park in the shadow of the nation’s capitol showed the collaborative spirit and broad appeal of the Cleanup, bringing out a crowd of nearly 200 that included Ocean Conservancy and folks from local schools and communities along with partners including the Anacostia Watershed Society, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coca-Cola Company, Altria, Booz Allen Hamilton and the Dow Chemical Company. When the volunteers had filled the huge dumpster with more than 2 tons of trash, partner Covanta Energy hauled it away to burn it and generate electricity.
Maryland: Ocean Conservancy President and CEO Vikki Spruill joined Cleanup partner Bank of America on the Patapsco River, where huge amounts of debris including toilet seats and tires had traveled downstream from Pennsylvania following a series of intense storms including Hurricane Irene. Spruill, who pulled a blue plastic swimming-pool slide out of the water, spoke with Cleanup volunteers and a local TV crew about the challenges posed when trash travels during storms.
South Africa: Ocean Conservancy staff member Charlotte Meyer joined a Cleanup event while on vacation. “Port Elizabeth had their largest turnout, including more than 500 schoolchildren from the Nelson Mandela school district, many of whom had never seen the ocean. At 6 a.m. the beaches were full of litter, and by noon they were pristine. It was a beautiful day, and afterwards the children frolicked in the water.”
Bali: During Bali’s first-ever International Coastal Cleanup, seven local organizations helped support 195 volunteers who cleaned 5.2 miles of beach in 90 minutes. They collected 6,771 items at Seminyak Beach on the ocean and along the Petanu River.
Norway: This country’s first Cleanup drew 2,000 people to 168 sites. “Norway had been through a traumatic summer with the Utøya killings,” says Emily Robertson of Keep Norway Clean, who led the Cleanup there. “People are very motivated to do something together to contribute to society. The Cleanup is perfect —it is fun, and contributes to a serious environmental issue in a very positive way.”
Hawaii: More than 40 personnel from Hawaii’s Pacific Missile Range Facility teamed up with 16 students and faculty from Ke Kula Ni'ihau O Kekaha School, and were reminded that the ocean connects us all. A bottle containing a note from young Saki Arikawa of Kagoshima, Japan, origami flowers, and a photo of her sixth-grade class had traveled more than 4,000 miles and five years before coming to light at the Cleanup on the west side of Kauai.
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Nearly 600,000 volunteers joined together for Ocean Conservancy's 2011 International Coastal Cleanup. Here's what they found.
Ocean Conservancy is extremely grateful to our sponsoring partners for their commitment to and enthusiasm for the International Coastal Cleanup.