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Water: Marine Debris

What You Can Do at Events

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Cleanup events help to remove trash and debris from oceans, coasts, and waterways. By removing the trash and debris, these cleanups play a key role in addressing the marine debris that already exists in the environment. Removing the debris helps to keep the beaches and water safe and attractive for recreational users, saves wildlife from ingestion and entanglement, and reduces economic losses due to lost tourism revenue. Cleaning up debris also provides valuable information regarding the amounts and types of debris found at different beaches, waterways, and oceans, aiding in determining the sources of the debris.

Cleanup events take place locally, nationally, and internationally. The following is a sample of the various national and international cleanup events and organizations.

Adopt Your Watershed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is leading an "Adopt Your Watershed" campaign to encourage stewardship of the nation's water resources. EPA challenges citizens and organizations to join us and others who are working to protect and restore our valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, ground water, and estuaries. To learn more about this program and opportunities to get involved in activities in your community, such as monitoring, cleanups, and restoration projects, visit their online database.

International Coastal Cleanup

The International Coastal Cleanup is an annual event held every 3rd Saturday of September that includes over 100 countries and territories bordering every major body of water on Earth. It is the world's largest volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment and collect marine environmental data from both land and underwater sites. In 2011, more than 598,000 volunteers removed over 9 million pounds of trash from cleanup sites around the world. For more information about the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup, please visit the Ocean Conservancy's 2012 Data Release webpage. Exit EPA Disclaimer

Project AWARE Foundation Events

Project AWARE Foundation Exit EPA Disclaimer is dedicated to addressing the impacts of marine debris and coordinates global beach and underwater cleanups year round. Project AWARE partners with the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup to hold the biggest underwater cleanup of its kind, with over 900 global dive locations. Visit Take Action and Clean Up Local Dive Sites Exit EPA Disclaimer to find out more information on local cleanup dive sites and how to register a cleanup event.

United Nations Regional Seas Programme

The United Nations Regional Seas Programme Exit EPA Disclaimer aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world's oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment and by engaging neighboring countries in comprehensive and specific actions to protect their shared marine environment. To learn more information about international and domestic clean up events, explore their list of Beach Cleanups and Campaigns Exit EPA Disclaimer .


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