6 million pounds of trash found on world's beaches
Earth Day is coming up on April 22--hopefully this disturbing statistic will be on people's minds.
WASHINGTON - The world's beaches and shores are anything but pristine. Volunteers scoured 33,000 miles of shoreline worldwide and found 6 million pounds of debris from cigarette butts and food wrappers to abandoned fishing lines and plastic bags that threaten seabirds and marine mammals.
A report by the Ocean Conservancy, to be released Wednesday, catalogues nearly 7.2 million items that were collected by volunteers on a single day last September as they combed beaches and rocky shorelines in 76 countries from Bahrain to Bangladesh and in 45 states from southern California to the rocky coast of Maine.
The 378,000 volunteers on average collected 182 pounds of trash for every mile of shoreline, both ocean coastlines and beaches on inland lakes and streams, providing a "global snapshot of the ocean trash problem."
The most extensive cleanup was in the United States where 190,000 volunteers covered 10,110 miles — about a third of the worldwide total — and picked up 3.9 million pounds of debris on a single Saturday last September, according to the report.
That's 390 pounds of trash per mile, among the highest rates of any country, although the high number also reflects the large number of U.S. volunteers who took part, said Spruill. By comparison, volunteers in neighboring Canada collected 74 pounds per mile and those in Mexico, 157 pounds per mile, said the report. About 65 pounds of trash were collected per mile in China and 46 pounds per mile in New Zealand. Volunteers covered one mile in Bahrain and found 300 pounds of trash.