Each of us drink about 167 plastic water bottles per year, but recycle less than 25%. This statistic isn't surprising when you walk the coastline picking up trash. We collect hundreds of bottles per week (and ten times that number of bottle caps by them self). Plastic bottles are also a perfect example of how microplastic begins: First in the form of a bottle before being crushed, broken, and fragmented into smaller pieces, finally ending up as litter in the oceans and on the beaches.
Sources report that more than 1 million seabirds die every year after choking on a plastic straw that they mistook for food. Similarly, when sea animals see floating plastic straws (or other plastic items) in their underwater habitat, they often think they are food, and eat them. Besides the choking hazard, this sends animals a false sense of having a full stomach, leading them to die of starvation..
Most of the marine debris out there isn't even visible to us. Foam is especially problematic because it breaks down very small, very easily, and is incredibly difficult to pick up. Foam take-out containers and packing materials are one of the top 10 most commonly collected items on the beach.
During the International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2017, volunteers collected 757,523 plastic grocery bags alone. Plastic bags never biodegrade, but they do breakdown, releasing toxic additives they contain—including flame retardants and antimicrobials into the environment. In the ocean, many animals (such as sea turtles) confuse floating plastic bags for food.
Microplastic is defined as fragments of plastic that has broken down into small pieces, usually from larger plastic objects. Microplastics have been detected in commercial sea food, in addition to other food items and drinking water. There are major concerns around food safety and health, both to humans and wildlife. Additionally, there have been many recent cases of whales and dolphins washing up dead on beaches with stomachs full of plastic — and that plastic is often cited as the animal’s cause of death.
Cigarette butts are made of plastic, NOT cotton as is commonly thought. Like other forms of plastic, they do not biodegrade, and can persist in the environment for a long time. Additionally, consumption of cigarette butts by unsuspecting marine organisms can lead to death through choking or starvation. They also contain toxins that can leech into the environment. Some studies have shown that these toxins can have harmful effects on aquatic organisms, and yet, cigarette butts continue to be littered in huge quantities.
How We Help
A little about what we do
Promoting healthier, greener lifestyles and advocating for cleaner beaches
Removing coastal debris and recycling or repurposing 50% of what we collect
Inspiring individual activism efforts globally till all our beaches are clean
Find out what we have been up to!
About two months ago, a mom and her two teenage boys passed me on the beach. A huge smile spread across my face as I noticed they were picking up trash from the shorline and putting it into grocery bags. I'd seen countless tourists and locals enjoying walks on the beach, but here this family stood out and really got me thinking.
This Saturday was International Coastal Cleanup Day hosted by the Ocean Conservancy. Dozens of volunteers showed up to work with Keep Palm Beach County Clean to pick up trash along the coastline at South Shore Park, Boca Raton. Photos are now up on Instagram! […]
“The Beachy Clean Project was born with the hope that together we can become less wasteful, get more active, and clean up the shores of our local lakes, rivers, and beaches.”Renee Kent