Over 1,200 volunteers at 43 sites in Lee County participated in the International Coastal Cleanup last weekend. Keep Lee County Beautiful is the local organizer for the event.
There were shoreline cleanups, waterway cleanups in kayaks, and a dive cleanup in Captiva.
In addition to removing over 3,000 pounds of litter and debris from Lee County, volunteers contributed to the world’s largest database on marine debris by collecting data which will be sent to the Ocean Conservancy. This data is used by scientists, environmentalists, governments, and others to better understand and characterize the global plastic pollution problem.
Since the first ICC, more than 16 million volunteers have removed over 340 million pounds of trash from more than 500,000 miles of shoreline.
According to Keep Lee County Beautiful, data shows that 80% of global litter is plastics and is dominated by food and beverage items. “Every year, 78 million tons of plastics enter our oceans, entangling wildlife, polluting beaches, and costing coastal municipalities hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. All the top-ten most-collected items were made of plastic, including cigarette butts (which contain plastic filters), plastic bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps, plastic utensils, grocery bags, and straws. These plastics never fully biodegrade and break up into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics which are the growing concern of the global plastic pollution crisis.”