Coastal cleanup ef­fort nets 9 mil­lion pounds of garbage

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation -

SAN FRAN­CISCO | Vol­un­teers around the world col­lected nearly 9 mil­lion pounds of cig­a­rettes, bot­tles and other trash dur­ing a coastal cleanup cam­paign last year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Tues­day.

The garbage was picked up by nearly 600,000 vol­un­teers who scoured more than 20,000 miles of coast­line on Sept. 17 for the 2011 In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup, ac­cord­ing to the Ocean Con­ser­vancy, which or­ga­nized the 26th an­nual event.

The top five types of trash found were cig­a­rettes, bev­er­age lids, plas­tic bot­tles, plas­tic bags and food con­tain­ers. Vol­un­teers found 94,000 bal­loons, 267,000 items of cloth­ing and 940,000 pieces of food pack­ag­ing, the re­port said.

“Our vol­un­teers picked up enough food pack­ag­ing for a per­son to get take­out for break­fast, lunch and din­ner ev­ery day for the next 858 years,” Ocean Con­ser­vancy CEO Vikki Spruill said in a state­ment. “Ocean trash is hu­man-gen­er­ated, pre­ventable and one of the big­gest threats to our ocean and wa­ter­ways.”

Ms. Spruill said peo­ple should take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their trash by dis­card­ing it prop­erly and us­ing re­us­able bags and con­tain­ers.

Thou­sands of ma­rine mam­mals, sea tur­tles and birds are in­jured or killed by ocean de­bris ev­ery year, con­ser­va­tion­ists say.

Over the past 26 years, the an­nual cleanup ef­fort has led to the re­moval of 153 mil­lion pounds of garbage from beaches, coast­lines and wa­ter­ways around the world, ac­cord­ing to the Ocean Con­ser­vancy.

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