Oceans of trash? >9 million volunteers remove 153 million lbs of trash from >312000 miles of coastline and waterways in 26 years
New Data Shows What Trash is in Your Ocean and Waterways
New data released by the Ocean Conservancy highlights the need for humans to clean up their acts. The numbers, generated during the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup last September, are staggering.
With 598,076 volunteers around the world who picked up 9,184,428 pounds of trash from 20,776 miles of shorelines, rivers and lakes, it’s not surprising what is the most prolific item found – cigarette butts. If you are wondering how Ocean Conservancy knows down to the last one, how many butts there were, each volunteer is issued an inventory control sheet to keep tabs.
By now you are probably feeling a little ill, seeing just how much junk is floating around and landing on the world’s shores. But what about the damage being done to our wildlife? We know better — they don’t.
Stop Trash at the Source – You
“Our top 10 list consistently shows that what you use, eat and drink in our everyday life ends up in the ocean,” Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy said. “We need to stop trash at its source, and the biggest impact we can have involves the choices each of us make every day. You can make a big difference for our ocean by taking personal responsibility for your own trash, and that can start with small changes, such as properly disposing of trash and choosing reusable bags, bottles and picnic supplies.”
Over the past 26 years, more than nine million (9,361,453) volunteers have removed one hundred and fifty-three million (153,790,918) pounds of trash from more than three hundred and twelve thousand (312,290) miles of coastline and waterways in 153 countries and locations.
Enough clothing (266,997 items) to outfit every expected audience member of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Enough food packaging (940,277 pieces) to get takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next 858 years.
Enough light bulbs (24,384 bulbs) to replace every light on the Eiffel Tower.
Enough beverage cans and glass beverage containers that, if recycled, would net $45,489.15.
Enough balloons (93,913) to provide one to every person expected to attend the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Enough cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons (707,171) to host a barbeque for every student enrolled at Ohio State University, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, and University of Kansas, to celebrate their teams’ appearance in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.
In the past 26 years of cleanups, volunteers found:
Fifty-five million cigarettes butts, which if stacked vertically, would be as tall as 3,613 Empire State Buildings.
Enough glass and plastic bottles to provide every resident of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia a cold beverage on a hot summer day.
Enough appliances (125,156) to fill 37,434 single-axle dump trucks.
More than 870 thousand (870,935) diapers – enough to put one on every child born in the UK last year.
Enough cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons to host a picnic for 2.15 million people.
You can make a difference by choosing to avoid single-use plastic items like water bottles and picnic utensils that end up as ocean trash. If you have to smoke, don’t toss the butts, dispose of them properly in a bin, or better yet, quit!
Images courtesy of Ecology.com and Ocean Conservacy
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