Cigarette Butts, Bottles, Cans, Appliances, Bags, Rubber Chicken…

Cartoon showing fish swimming in a polluted ocean

The 2012 results of the annual International Coastal Cleanup were recently announced and the results show that yes, we are all slobs! Well, not all of us, but the findings were pretty astounding nonetheless.

The Ocean Conservancy, an international group of eco-conscious volunteers helping to raise awareness about responsible waste removal, recycling and keeping the world’s waterways clean since 1972, organizes the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) each year and has been since 1986.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, a 2012 cleanup event showed that more than 500,000 volunteers from 97 different cities and countries helped remove more than 10 million pounds of trash in and around oceans, lakes and waterways.

Volunteers removed a wide variety of junk from local waterways, including over 1 million plastic bottles, 2.1 million cigarette butts, over 100 mattresses, kitchen appliances, several cars, and a lucky rubber chicken (nice find).

It’s easy to overlook the importance of keeping our waterways clean and free of junk and debris. A simple plastic bag can wreak havoc in the ocean. Fish and sea turtles mistake tiny plastic particles as food, and they gobble up these toxic morsels. Even worse, we eat the fish that are eating this toxic plastic, so it affects humans as well.

How plastic bags pollute oceans

You can play your role in helping to keep waterways free of trash and junk while on-the-go. Rippl is a free mobile app created by Ocean Conservancy to help provide easy tips and strategies for living a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.

It’s currently available for iOS mobile devices; as of this date, no Android version is available.

The ICC is held annually in September at locations around the world. The 2013 event is scheduled for September 21. To get involved, just visit the Ocean Conservancy website for details.