Ocean Currents » ICC http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:47:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 The Saddest ‘Emoji’ of All http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/02/03/the-saddest-emoji-of-all/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/02/03/the-saddest-emoji-of-all/#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2017 19:27:13 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13712 Emoji – “a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.”

But for veterinarians and staff at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida, Emoji was so much more.

Emoji was a two-week old orphaned Florida manatee that was found 15 pounds underweight when Zoo staff rescued him separated from his mother in October. Despite being underweight, Emoji was found with a full belly. Unfortunately, it was plastic bags and debris that filled its stomach, while other trash protruded out the back side of Emoji’s digestive system.

For three months, staff at Lowry Park Zoo provided Emoji top notch care and worked to rehabilitate the manatee. In spite of their heroic efforts however, Emoji finally succumbed to its injuries this past Monday.

Dr. Ray Ball, a senior veterinarian at the Zoo, noted that it’s not unusual for manatee calves to ingest plastics and other debris. And sadly, this tragic event is not an uncommon occurrence in our global ocean. It’s estimated that 52% of the world’s remaining sea turtles have eaten plastics and 62% of sea birds have plastics in their guts. Whales that wash ashore dead have been discovered with massive accumulations of fishing nets and other debris in their stomachs, and increasingly widespread contamination of plastics in fish and shellfish is being documented by scientists.

“Now more than ever, we must hold ourselves accountable, whether that’s keeping trash and plastics out of our waterways or being more mindful of potential consequences of propeller strikes on wildlife while boating,” said Ball.

We are saddened by Emoji’s story. But, here at at Ocean Conservancy we try very hard to make sure stories like these become fewer and fewer by working every day to stop plastics and debris from entering the ocean. We continue to work very closely with Loggerhead Marinelife Center and other sea turtle organizations to keep trash off nesting beaches and help monitor trends in the trash collected.

For 32 years, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), has helped keep trash off our beaches and out of the ocean! Volunteers from states and territories throughout the U.S. and more than 150 countries come together each year and participate in an ICC event on their local beach or waterway.  Three decades of Cleanups have yielded more than 220 million pounds of trash being collected and saved from polluting our ocean, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of over 12 million volunteers.

Reading stories like this one of Emoji may make you feel sad and helpless—but there are actions in your daily lives that you can take to help make a positive difference in the community around you. You can take the ocean oath—and join Ocean Conservancy. It’s our goal to generate 100,000 actions during the first hundred days President Trump is in office.

So while it may seem tough at the moment, we can all celebrate Emoji by committing to a clean and healthy ocean free of trash for generations of humans and manatees to come.

 

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Inspired and Connected for Trash Free Seas http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/22/inspired-and-connected-for-trash-free-seas/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/22/inspired-and-connected-for-trash-free-seas/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2016 19:56:06 +0000 Sarah Kollar http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13395

As we ease into the holiday season, I am grateful to have been part of an amazing event halfway around the world where I witnessed the positive energy and impact that can only arise when we work together. It was a powerful reminder of how our ocean brings us together.

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, I went to Hong Kong for our first-ever International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Asia Pacific coordinators meeting. As you may know, the International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean and collectively, partners from around the world have kept 100 million tons of trash out of our ocean in the past three decades.  The Asia Pacific region is where much of the world’s ocean trash originates, and Ocean Conservancy was eager to learn from our partners on the front lines.

At the regional meeting, there were 12 countries represented, and attendees from California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, all bringing a wealth of talents, expertise and experience to the table. Their leadership and work in the marine debris field as well as their community organizing skills continues to make a huge difference to the health of our ocean. The meeting in Hong Kong was an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and identify new paths based on science, best practices and a shared commitment to stem the tide of trash in our seas.

Our meeting began with a cleanup at Lap Sap Wan led by our co-hosts and ICC partner, Hong Kong Cleanup. This beach, similar to many locations in Asia Pacific and around the world, was completely covered in debris. At times it was knee-deep.

We noted the types of items (polystyrene, plastic PET bottles and fishing gear, to name a few), inferred how they may have reached that location and tracked our findings on Ocean Conservancy’s new marine debris data collection app called Clean Swell (IOS /Android).

The cleanup spurred conversations around an issue that is overwhelming and complex but ultimately connects us all and compels us to seek solutions on a global level. With so much knowledge, talent and energy in one place the meeting was rich in discussion, not only in regards to cleanup practices but also in the realm of new research and innovative solutions.

We shared successes stories like a system that upcycles discarded fishing nets into carpet. We also heard about challenges like addressing misconceptions and finding ways for the public to understand that marine debris is not your or my problem, it is our problem.

Between brainstorms and panel discussions, we also found time to talk about SCUBA diving and surfing and experience Hong Kong. One of my favorite meals was dinner at Linguini Fini, a zero-waste restaurant on Hong Kong Island.

I came away recognizing the power and increased impact in working together. I am thankful for the partnerships—and friendships—that the ICC has helped to build across cultures, geographies and time zones as we all work towards trash free seas.

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Only 1 Week Away http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/10/only-1-week-away/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/10/only-1-week-away/#comments Sat, 10 Sep 2016 13:40:12 +0000 Sarah Kollar http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12705

Time flies! In the blink of an eye summer came to an end and now kids are back to school. And, in only one week it’ll be time again for Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup. We have been very busy here getting ready—making sure there are enough bags, gloves and data card at locations around the globe.

Will you join us for this year’s Cleanup on Saturday, September 17?

All you have to do is visit our easy-to-use map and find a Cleanup near you!

And, this year we have a new way to track the trash that you collect on the beach. Our new mobile app, Clean Swell, is free and available to download on both iOS and Android systems. You can earn your own medals by tracking the trash you collect. The more trash you collect; the more badges you earn.

A great way to turn the tide on trash is to clean up your local beach, shoreline or park as part of this year’s Cleanup. Preventing the trash we find on beaches and shorelines from ever entering the ocean isn’t the only way of making our seas trash free. However, it’s an important step to protecting endangered animals that are threatened by marine debris.

Will you join us for this year’s Cleanup on Saturday, September 17?

Hope to “sea” you next week at a Cleanup near YOU.

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18 Million Fewer Pounds of Trash in Our Ocean: This Year’s Ocean Trash Index Has Arrived http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/05/26/18-million-fewer-pounds-of-trash-in-our-ocean-this-years-ocean-trash-index-has-arrived/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/05/26/18-million-fewer-pounds-of-trash-in-our-ocean-this-years-ocean-trash-index-has-arrived/#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 14:11:22 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12157

Once again, the time has come to share the results of last year’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)! This is an especially exciting year for the Ocean Trash Index because we’re celebrating the Cleanup’s 30th anniversary!

Each year, I’m amazed by the number of people who care about the health of our ocean. During the 2015 ICC, 791,336 people removed 18,062,911 pounds of trash from 25,188 miles of coast around the world. These volunteers collected trash on their local beaches and waterways and provided Ocean Conservancy with a snapshot of the most persistent forms of trash found along the beaches and waterways that’s impacting our ocean.

Volunteers part of the 2015 International Coastal Cleanup joined  the ranks of more than 11.5 million people who’ve joined the Cleanup over the last 30 years. I’m so grateful for the hard work of our volunteers, cleanup coordinators and local partners who help make the Cleanup a reality. We couldn’t do our work without their tremendous support.

This year—as in years past—one of the most commonly found items of trash were plastic drinking straws. These straws pose a real danger to animals like sea turtles, albatross and fish, who can eat them. That’s why we’re asking large, national restaurant chains make a difference for our ocean! You can help us take action by signing our petition asking restaurants to skip the straw.

Keeping straws out of our ocean, one drink at a time, will have a huge impact on the health of our ocean and the animals who call it home. Looking for more great ways to help create Trash Free Seas®? Try our suggestions below:

  • Check out the 2015 Ocean Trash Index and our infographics from the report  to learn more about the most pervasive types of trash.
  • Download Clean Swell, our newest app, and let us know what types of trash you’re collecting from your local beach. The app is available for both iPhone and Android.
  • Reduce your purchases of single-use disposable goods. Going reusable ensures throwaway plastics never have the chance to make it to beaches, waterways, or the ocean.
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Plastics in Seabirds: A Pervasive and Growing Problem That Requires Global Action http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/08/31/plastics-in-seabirds-a-pervasive-and-growing-problem-that-requires-global-action/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/08/31/plastics-in-seabirds-a-pervasive-and-growing-problem-that-requires-global-action/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 22:31:55 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10696

You have likely seen the pictures of albatross chicks chocking on plastics. These images are tough to look at and the death these birds suffer from ingesting plastics is gruesome and painful. Albatross consume a whole range of plastics that float in the ocean, from cigarette lighters, to toothbrushes to shards of plastics from a huge variety of other plastic products. As a conservation organization, Ocean Conservancy is deeply troubled by the impact of plastics on these magnificent birds. But how pervasive is this problem, really? A new paper in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS gives us a disturbing answer. It turns out plastics in seabirds is a very big deal. It is global, pervasive and increasing. And it has to be stopped.

The research published today was done by Drs. Chris Wilcox and Denise Hardesty from CSIRO in Australia and Dr. Erik van Sebille from Imperial College in London. It is the result of an independent scientific Working Group convened by Ocean Conservancy at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is the same group that recently demonstrated that 8 million tons (17 billion pounds) of plastics enters the ocean each year, much of it from Asia. This week’s publication shows the consequences of this plastic avalanche. Using global historical data from publications over the last few decades on the presence of plastics in the stomachs of 135 species of seabirds from all around the world, the authors show that plastic contamination is increasing and they predict that 99% of all seabird species will be eating plastic by 2050 unless something is done to stem the tide. Surprisingly, seabirds that may be most at risk of plastics are those that lived at the Southern Ocean boundary in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, far from the well-known “garbage patches at the center of the ocean’s gyres. While plastics are less abundant there compared to the gyres, this is where seabirds are most common – and thus at greatest risk of exposure to plastics. Contamination rates have increased from about 26% historically to approximately 65% today; if the trend continues, nearly all species of seabird – and almost 95% of all individuals – will be exposed to plastics by 2050. So this isn’t just about albatross; it’s about ALL seabirds including penguins, fulmars, auklets, prions, storm petrels and the many other species that spend the majority of their lives living over the ocean.

Read the entire article at National Geographic’s website.

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Join Us for the 30th Annual International Coastal Cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/08/28/join-us-for-the-30th-annual-international-coastal-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/08/28/join-us-for-the-30th-annual-international-coastal-cleanup/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:57:51 +0000 Michelle Frey http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10687

The 30th Anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup is almost here! Help Ocean Conservancy to keep our beaches and waterways clean. Please join us at a cleanup near you.

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Get Ready for the 30th Anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/08/19/get-ready-for-the-30th-anniversary-of-the-international-coastal-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/08/19/get-ready-for-the-30th-anniversary-of-the-international-coastal-cleanup/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 19:09:37 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10662

Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup. It’s hard to believe that what began 30 years ago as a Cleanup on just a handful of beaches in Texas has grown to a yearly global Cleanup that involved thousands of volunteers, hundreds of countries and removes millions of pounds of trash from our coasts.

I’m proud to be part of the Ocean Conservancy team that has ensured that the Cleanup occurs year after year. Right now, we’re making sure our dedicated Coordinators all around the world have all the supplies and materials that they need to once again have a successful Cleanup.

Can I count on you to join us this year – it’s our 30th Anniversary after all.

Find a Cleanup near you!
We have an easy-to-use map where you can search the globe and find a beach Cleanup near you.

In last year’s Cleanup, more than 500,000 people picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash along nearly 13,000 miles of coastline around the world.

In the past 29 years of Cleanups:

  • More than 10 million volunteers that picked up more than 175 million pounds of trash from about 340,000 miles of shoreline.
  • Volunteers found 59 million cigarette butts, which, if stacked end to end would stretch from Washington, D.C. all the way to Miami.
  • Volunteers found more than 10 million plastic bags, which required 1,047 barrels of oil to produce.

As you can see, for 30 years the International Coastal Cleanup has been bringing people together to help protect the ocean… and, thanks to volunteers, we’ve been truly making a difference.  But, we can’t do it alone. We need YOU to join us this year. Please join a Cleanup near you.

 

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