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August 26, 2011

International Coastal Cleanup

You name it, and I bet we've found it on the beach and in the water.

We've collected cigarette butts, plastic bags, toilet seats, washing machines, abandoned fishing gear - even the proverbial kitchen sink.  In fact, over the past 25years of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup, more than 8.5 million volunteers have removed 145 million pounds of trash, including 53 million cigarette butts, 14 million food wrappers and containers, 13 million caps and lids... the list goes on and on.

It's the largest volunteer effort of its kind, and I hope you'll join us for our 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup by signing up for a cleanup near you or organizing your own.

Trash on our beaches and in our waterways isn't just an eyesore - it's harmful to humans, wildlife and entire ecosystems.  This serious pollution problem limits access to beaches and impacts recreation, tourism and coastal economies.  Toxic compounds from trash in the water can enter the food chain, and potentially end up on our dinner plates.  And trash harms wildlife, too.  Countless birds, dolphins, seals, turtles and fish become sick or die each year form eating things they shouldn't or getting trapped in a tangle of trash or lost fishing nets.

Add all of that to the pre-existing problems of pollution, overfishing and climate change, and you've got a beleaguered, stressed-out ocean.  But the good news is that ocean trash is entirely preventable.  By recycling, repurposing and reusing, each of us can reduce the amount of trash we generate.  And we can also come together to cure the problem that's already been created, by heading to a beach or waterway to pick up trash during the 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup.

Ocean trash affects everyone, everywhere, and we all have a shared responsibility to keep the ocean clean and healthy.  When we protect our ocean, we are protecting the life-support system for our planet.  Can you think of a better way to spend a morning?

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