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International Cleanup Day: Find an Event Near You and Help Save Our Marine Life

2913241318_14d1ce9214_o International Cleanup Day is annually celebrated every September 25. With the support and partnership of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, International Cleanup Day gives awareness that will help motivate not just divers but also other people in the community to bequeath the ocean and document the water’s surface to help prevent marine debris from affecting our planet.

The debris cleanup organized by the Ocean Conservancy started in mid 80’s in the state of Texas, volunteers all over the world can freely participate in this environmental effort to attempt save the world from marine contaminations. There were volunteers who removed some 124 tons of trash long the stretchy 122 miles of coastline. The cleanup effort was a success that it suddenly grew and included 25 waterfront states and territories of the United States in 1989. The project was then branched out internationally.

Marine debris found underneath the ocean must be taken up, whether it is man-made or just a solid material that obstructs our water directly or indirectly. Problems arising from our coastal ecosystems should be toppled by cleaning the marine environment. Almost 80% of the debris, found on beaches or in the ocean is blown or dumped from shore. 20% of this comes from recreational activities as trash by boats, ships, fishing vessels and other ocean platforms.

Plastic bags, soda cans, cigarette butts, and other fishing gears that slowly degrade the marine environment can cause a terrible threat to our ocean. Studies have shown that marine debris can give peril to over 265 different species of marine and coastal wildlife via smothering, entanglement and interference with digestive systems.

2912392171_58a26af22a_oLitters entering our seas and oceans are vastly reducing the wildlife populations of our marine ecosystem. The cumulative impact can be continuous, and in a small-scale the pollution can be dramatic. The sudden increase of the use of different kinds of plastics as durable, lightweight packaging has given discrimination to the terms of needs in proper management and disposal.

Because of the profusion of plastic use in our daily lives, it is no surprise that it can be present in our planet’s oceans.

Besides the dilapidation threat to our marine wildlife, certain types of marine debris such as medical waste wash-ups, broken glass and other junks being thrown into the sea can incidentally cause a serious threat to our public health. This type of debris and pollution has resulted in the damaging and closing of many beaches all over the world.

Last year, more than 30,000 AWARE Divers have volunteered from all over the world, coming from 92 countries, documenting and removing all harmful and trash materials that have been surfacing in the ocean. A rough count of more than 91,000 plastic bottles and nearly 79,000 plastic bags were recorded during the last year’s cleanup activity. To sum up the entire count, a total weight of the plastic bottles and trash collected last year can be equaled to the weight of 44 Orca whales or 222 small cars.

With help from various groups who helped during the International Cleanup Day, here are some lists of actions that you could take:

  1. Remove all debris you see during your recreational dive or just a shoreline visit.
  2. Cigarette filters are the number one item that can be found during cleanup activity. Always dispose cigarette butts properly and never throw them overboard.
  3. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
  4. Avoid buying products that involve plastic.
  5. Be aware of everything you buy and avoid excessive packaging.
  6. Demand improved and increased number of recycling facilities over your area.
  7. Properly dispose all trash and rubbish especially fishing lines, nets and other associated litters.
  8. Keep away plastics off the ground and the ocean floor.
  9. Keep storm drains and shorelines free of rubbish.
  10. Get involved in underwater and shoreline cleanup activities.

By joining in over the Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Cleanup Day every September of the year, you allow yourself to be a part of cleaning our ocean and helping our marine environment grow into a much greater ecosystem. Cleaning up your trash can be always the first thing to do.  Researchers in the Ocean Conservancy have analyzed of what is being collected every year along the ocean floor and shorelines. They use this information to develop new solutions in decreasing marine debris.

International Cleanup Day is supported by several sponsors including Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical Company, Philip Morris USA, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Oracle, Bank of America, US Environmental Protection Agency, Endangered Species Chocolate, Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund and MARPAT Foundation.

Be part of the annual International Cleanup Day and help protect our marine environment. Find the nearest event near you and take part in this annual event. Stand up and be counted because your volunteer counts.