Winner for Preservation: Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup

By Jacquelyne Froeber
March 12, 2009
 Winner for Preservation: Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup
Courtesy of Ocean Conservancy

Armed with recyclable trash bags and a vision for a cleaner planet, some 400,000 volunteers scoured shores around the world for marine debris during the International Coastal Cleanup.

 The result? Over the years, more than 117,639,340 million pounds of trash has been collected and properly disposed of.

"We are the only organization that creates a global snapshot of the damage we are doing to the ocean,” says Ocean Conservancy president and CEO Vikki Spruill.

For the past 23 years, the nonprofit O.C. group has sponsored the cleanup of trash in seaside spaces. In 2008, 76 countries contributed to the effort. California and Florida consistently have the greatest participation in cleanups on United States beaches. In 2007, more than 90,000 volunteers spruced up those two states alone. The 2009 International Coastal Cleanup will be held Saturday, September 19.

Ocean Conservancy's motto, "Start a Sea Change," advocates a behavioral shift. It starts with the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) and expands to include the Conservancy’s efforts to restore American fisheries, preserve marine protected areas and sea life in every region, and work with the federal government to bring about much-needed policy reform. "Although we love our one-day cleanup," says Vikki, "the effort needs to live in each of us every day."

For more information, call 800/519-1541 or visit

Winning Strategies!

• Global recognition of coastal pollution
• Cleanup initiatives in 76 countries
• Educational programs that empower volunteers
• Protection efforts for marine life
• Conservation for protected coastal areas
• Focus on sustainable seafood and the effects of climate change