Plastic = Not so Fantastic

Zoe Dillman
22 June 2017

International Coastal Clean-up Results

Just a few weeks ago NVT participated in Greenwood Bay College’s ‘Rocks to Robberg’ beach clean-up event, subsequently comparing results with the Green Teen Team’s data collected from their river beach clean-up in Italy. Altogether, both teams collected over two thousand pieces of litter of which two thirds were recycled! Results from both beach clean-ups were sent to the Ocean Conservancy contributing to the 2017 International Coastal Clean-up report. 

2.Beach clean up


Over the last 30 years, more and more dedicated volunteers from all over the world strive to protect the ocean; collecting trash along their local coastlines and contributing to the Ocean Conservancy’s international data collection. Seeing as more than half a million volunteers from 112 countries participated in last year’s International Coastal Clean-up, statistics from this year’s International Coastal Clean-up will expectedly take a little while to calculate. But as for now, the Ocean Conservancy recently released its data report for the 2016 International Coastal Clean-up, and the results are certainly captivating!


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Volunteers covered enough miles to walk around the moon twice, collecting more than 8 million kilograms of trash! Just under 14 million pieces of marine debris were collected, among which volunteers found some pretty weird items such as 56 toilets, 8 microwaves and even a piano! The most collected item in 2016 dominates with 1,863,838 cigarette butts, followed by 1,578,834 plastic beverage bottles, and 822,227 plastic bottle caps. Interestingly, compared to the previous year, cigarette butts decreased 12.4%, however plastic beverage bottles increased dramatically, 54.1%.



Looking back on the past few years, environmental awareness has been all about giving people the powerful knowledge of how to reduce, reuse, and recycle - especially when it comes to reusable water bottles and reusable grocery bags. Almost everyone has their own reusable water bottle and/or reusable grocery bags right? So how come from 2015 to 2016, plastic beverage bottles shockingly increased 54.1%, and plastic grocery bags 29.5%? It seems as if we’re forgetting the importance of saving our planet at home-along with our reusable grocery bags.


Arguably, we’ve made remarkable progress when it comes to environmental awareness and keeping our oceans clean. As a matter of fact, the use of other plastic bags decreased 13.2% along with food wrappers whom decreased 14.2%! This data suggests that reusable containers are beginning to win the battle over other single use plastic bags! Ultimately, it is important to remind ourselves to continue caring about our beautiful planet earth, and to continue saving the environment one reusable water bottle at a time; because our oceans won’t save themselves.