On the third Saturday of September each year, volunteers around the world take part in the world’s biggest coastal cleanup, known as International Coastal Cleanup Day. The event has been held internationally each year for over 20 years and approximately 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash in the 2014 International Coastal Cleanup.

In 1986 the American Centre for Marine Conservation held the first beach cleanup on the Texas coast with the aid of 2 800 volunteers. Since then, the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) has included inland lakes, rivers, streams and underwater sites in the cleanup and approximately half a million people in more than 100 countries have participated in the cleanup.

According to the ICC, the problem of marine debris does not necessarily start in the ocean, but is dumped further inland and washed down into the oceans. Statistics from the 1999 ICC showed that 59% of debris collected was from land sources. Each year there is a vast increase in the number of marine animals injured or entangled in debris found in the oceans. Turtles mistake floating plastic bags as food and thousands of seals, whales, dolphins, sharks and birds die from entanglement in fishing line and other debris.

According to the ICC trash threatens many of the animals in the ocean that are some of the most beloved species on the planet. More than 600 species of marine animals are impacted by ocean trash, from majestic whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles to hosts of sea birds and even tiny species of plankton. Animals can become entangled in larger debris items like discarded fishing nets and rope. They may also eat pieces of trash, ranging from microplastics to bottle caps and more. These items can cause serious digestion problems and often death.

The aim of the cleanup is:

· to remove debris from all bodies of water;

· to collect valuable information about debris;

· to heighten public awareness of the causes of litter and debris;

· to make a positive change and to promote water pollution prevention efforts worldwide.

So please, do your bit on your daily walks along the beach and help us turn the tide on ocean trash and let us achieve the vision of a healthy, vibrant ocean free of trash.

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