SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Fish Radio with Laine Welch] May 8, 2017 

This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Global ocean trash tallied. I’ll tell you more after this... 

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Over 18 million pounds of trash was collected in a single day from beaches, waterways, and oceans all across the globe last fall; according to the 2016 Ocean Trash Index report gathered and released by the Ocean Conservancy. For 32 years, they have relied on volunteer efforts worldwide to participate in the organization's International Coastal Cleanup. Since the start, they have seen a major increase in participants and a decrease in trash. 

"It is a one-day a year effort, where each year more than 500,000 people come out in over 100 countries around the world. Not only do they remove all the trash from their beaches, they also document every item they pick up.” 

Nick Mallow, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program. 

“It provides an annual snapshot of the most persistent and pervasive forms of trash that are littering our beaches, waterways, and oceans globally.In over the three decades of the clean up more than two hundred and twenty million pounds of trash have been removed in that single day effort by over 12 million volunteers. So it is truly an extraordinary global effort inside magnitude and scope.” 

Things we use in our day-to-day lives are the most popular of trash items picked up. However, one item has held the number one title for decades. 

“Cigarette butts are the number one item found every year for thirty-two years. And collectively over that three-decade time span, more than sixty-four million cigarette butts have been removed. After cigarette butts, it is the disposable packaging that we use in our day-to-day lives. 

During the 2016 clean up volunteers also recorded over a million plastic bottles, nearly nine hundred thousand food wrappers, and a growing number of four hundred thousand drinking straws.”

“It’s the items that are used quite frequently for only a few seconds and then disposed of that then find their way onto beaches and into the ocean if not captured through cleanup efforts or other prevention mechanisms.” 

Mallow says that he has seen remarkable changes on the issue of plastics in the world’s oceans. 

“The more people that are devoting even just a few minutes of their time of day to pick up a bag, a bottle a bottle cap, that is one less piece of debris that could end up in the ocean, and that does make a difference. Given our ocean faces a plethora of threats, trash is one that we know the problem, we know the source. It is a people problem, not an ocean problem so we have to be the solution. And getting out there on the beach and doing our part is one step that gets us closer to that solution.” 

Learn more about the Ocean Trash Index at and find links at 

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network and is committed to ending hunger in America. 

In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.