The Blog Aquatic » International Coastal Cleanup Coordinators http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Bangladesh Cleanup Coordinator Bikes U.S. to Fight Ocean Trash http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/10/bangladesh-cleanup-coordinator-bikes-u-s-to-fight-ocean-trash/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/10/bangladesh-cleanup-coordinator-bikes-u-s-to-fight-ocean-trash/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2012 16:54:12 +0000 Sarah van Schagen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2774 Riding along the highway

Credit: Muntasir Mamun

Muntasir Mamun was stopped at a gas station in Dayton, Ohio, when he saw a woman helping kids pick up the trash in their neighborhood.

As the International Coastal Cleanup Coordinator in Bangladesh, Muntasir would have found this scene inspiring in any context. But the fact that he was on a 3,500-mile bike ride across the United States to raise awareness about the impacts of trash made the moment all the more sweet.

Road to recovery

Traveling on a bicycle built for two, Muntasir and fellow activist Mohammad Ujjal wanted to get a sense of the amount of plastic and other waste they would encounter as they crossed the country.

They rode from Seattle to Washington, D.C., along highways and country roads, through cities and open spaces. And they rarely found a single mile without at least a beverage bottle or can, Muntasir says.

The bike in front of Mt. Rushmore

Credit: Muntasir Mamun

So why travel halfway around the world for a bike ride? Muntasir and Mohammad chose the United States because it has one of the highest consumption rates for plastic-based products and is one of the largest consumer markets for bottled water.

Muntasir says he hopes that by raising awareness about the issue, people will think twice the next time they use a plastic product.

“By undertaking this journey, we were trying to raise public awareness as to the impacts of trash not only on the immediate environment where it may be carelessly discarded,” Muntasir says, “but also to encourage people to think about the environmental impact chain that reaches right back to its production.”

Bringing home the message

Now that his cross-country bike ride in the United States is over, Muntasir will be re-focused on trash-activism in Bangladesh. Through his adventure and advocacy organization, Kewkradong, Muntasir will be coordinating International Coastal Cleanup events to collect items like cigarette butts and food wrappers that litter the country’s coastline and waterways.

He says despite cultural differences, attitudes about trash in Bangladesh are similar to those in the United States: “Nobody likes to remove it, and nobody wants to admit that it’s because of our own activity.”

Muntasir hopes to change that by continuing with his pedal-powered activism. He says he and his friends are looking at other countries with high per-capita plastic consumption and planning their next adventure.

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Cleanup Volunteers Find Weird and Wacky Trash on Our Beaches http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/21/cleanup-volunteers-find-weird-and-wacky-trash-on-our-beaches/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/21/cleanup-volunteers-find-weird-and-wacky-trash-on-our-beaches/#comments Tue, 21 Aug 2012 18:42:02 +0000 Catherine Fox http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2243

Volunteers found this chic wardrobe accessory during the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup in Washington, D.C., along the Anacostia River. Credit: Lucian Fox

A grand piano. A fifty-two-pound bag of dog hair. Chandeliers and kazoos, lawn chairs and lottery tickets. These are just a few of the crazy things discovered along lakes, rivers and the ocean’s shores over the past quarter-of-a-century during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Tracking trash
Volunteers tally every item they pick up during the Cleanup, and Ocean Conservancy publishes the results in the annual Ocean Trash Index.

That information helps identify which items are showing up where, so we can take steps to stop ocean trash at the source. The official data card includes space to record 52 different things, from small cigarette butts and balloons to big household appliances.

And then there’s the section where volunteers jot down their “weird finds.”

We’d like to share a few stories we’ve heard from some of the folks who coordinate the International Coastal Cleanup for their state or country. A lot of the stuff trashing our ocean and waterways may surprise you:

Everything but the wedding bells
Over the years, Cleanup volunteers in Canada have found almost everything you would need for a wedding, including a wedding dress, engagement ring, tuxedo jacket, bow tie, wedding invitations, bride-and-groom cake topper and veil.” –Jill Dwyer (Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a program of the Vancouver Aquarium), Canada Coordinator

Johnny-on-the-wrong-spot
“Our weirdest find was a whole toilet a hundred meters out from the coast on the sea bed. We were wondering who went to all the trouble to take the toilet out on a boat to dump it when he or she could have used the bulk refuse service, which is free in Malta.” –Vincent Attard (Nature Trust Malta), Malta coordinator

Election paraphernalia
“After basketball and boxing, politics is the most popular sport in Puerto Rico. Every four years during elections, we find an array of political flags, flyers and stickers that are both comical and depressing, considering the amount.” –Alberto Martí  (Scuba Dogs Society), Puerto Rico Coordinator

Storm debris
“After Hurricane Katrina, the things we pulled out of the water and removed from our shores were amazing. Not just tires, but the whole car; refrigerators still full; dining room tables with the silverware; and just about everything anybody can think of.” –Benjamin Goliwas (Home Port New Orleans), Louisiana coordinator

So you never know what might show up on a beach or shoreline in your corner of the world. Sign up today with your family and friends to be part of the International Coastal Cleanup this fall.

We can’t wait to see what YOU report on the data card!

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