The results are hot off the press: more than 5.5 million kilograms of trash was removed by nearly 650,000 volunteers from shorelines around the world last year through the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup – the most shoreline debris ever collected in the event’s history. This new total is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines and in the ocean and waterways.

The International Coastal Cleanup is the largest annual volunteer effort aimed at improving the health of the world’s coastlines. In Canada, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (Shoreline Cleanup), led by the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF and presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, has been a part of this global initiative since 1994. Each year, Shoreline Cleanup mobilizes tens of thousands of Canadians to remove aquatic debris from our shorelines. Site coordinators and cleanup participants submit cleanup data to provide us with a sense as to the state of our country’s coastlines, including the number of items collected and how many of which types of items are collected.

Last year, Shoreline Cleanup removed over 99,000 kg of litter from across Canada. Data based on what types of items littered our shorelines were submitted to the Ocean Conservancy to be counted along with 92 countries from nearly every continent.

While the report and the information it contains is a celebration of a truly international volunteer effort to rid the world’s beaches of trash and debris, Ocean Conservancy is also using these data to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping – at its many sources – the trash that ends up in the ocean.

From our world’s shorelines, 5.5 million kilograms of litter was collected by 648,015 volunteers during the International Coastal Cleanup, cleaning a distance of 20,800 km.

During the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup:

  • The trash collected by volunteers worldwide would fill roughly 38 Olympic size swimming pools and is equivalent to the weight of 823 male African elephants.
  • The amount of fishing line collected would go up and over Mount Everest five times, and the number of bottle caps found would cover three football fields when laid side by side.
  • Enough items were found to furnish an entire studio apartment, including an air conditioner, sink, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, washing machine, couch, table and chairs, television set, DVD player, coffee table, rug, curtains, curtain rods, toilet, dresser, desk and a bed complete with mattress, mattress pad, box spring, bed frame, sheets, comforter, pillows and pillow cases.

Additional descriptions of items found, infographics, including the “Top 10 Items Found,” are available online. For more information on what was found during the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, visit our Facts and Figures page.

And don’t forget – our very own Shoreline Cleanup’s spring cleanup is in full swing until July 31, so don’t forget to sign up for a spring cleanup at a shoreline near you!

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