International Coastal Cleanup: Washington Coast Results
Washington CoastSavers and its many partners and volunteers ensured our state’s coastal beaches are free of plastic pollution going into the fall and winter. Over fifty beaches along the outer coast and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca were cleaned by over 300 volunteers on Saturday, September 17th as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). This event is a global cleanup effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy each third Saturday of September. Washington CoastSavers serve as local cleanup coordinators in Washington State.
Trash found at ICC events was counted and will be included in an annual index of global marine debris to be released in 2017. Last year, nearly 800,000 volunteers collected over 18 million pounds of trash from shorelines around the world. The data gathered at ICC events provides information that can inform policy solutions and identify target areas where preventative solutions will make the biggest difference. ICC events also raise awareness of the pervasive marine debris issue and bring together people and organizations that care about the health of our waterways.
CoastSavers efforts were supported by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association who sponsored the dumpster rental and disposal costs for the south and central coastal beaches.
Washington Coast Cleanup Results
The 2016 Washington Coast Cleanup was on April 23rd. Over 1,400 volunteers removed at least 20 tons of marine debris from more than 50 beaches! That’s over 40,000 pounds in one day. Washington CoastSavers relies on the hundreds of volunteers to keep the state’s beaches clean. Many individuals and agency staff work at the registration stations throughout the morning to ensure everything runs smoothly. Other partners provide BBQ’s for our volunteers after they come off the beach. It’s always an awesome feeling when we work together for the health and beauty of our coast.
2016 was a great year for the beaches of the Washington coast. We rely on the support of hundreds of volunteers to help keep our state’s beaches free of marine debris. Here are the totals from 2016’s cleanups:
Washington Coast Cleanup: 1,400 volunteers removed over 20 tons.
International Coastal Cleanup: at least 300 volunteers removed 6 tons.
Total Volunteers in 2016: 1,700
Total Weight of Debris Collected: 26 tons!
WHAT IS MARINE DEBRIS & WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Marine debris is trash that somehow ends up in the ocean. Recognize this plastic water bottle? It could be the one you threw away several months ago – not at the beach, but at your home! It just blew out of your garbage, landed in a nearby waterway, and floated out to the coast. Now it’s degrading and poisoning our coastal wildlife and releasing its toxins into the food chain.
Or maybe a commercial fishing boat lost some gear in one of our notorious winter storms. Now it’s floating around out there, damaging our coastal fisheries, and pointlessly killing everything that gets caught.