The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup is an internationally synchronized marine debris cleanup event – it always occurs on the third Saturday in September and has been running for almost 30 years. In Cedar Key, the cleanup has been running for 10 years and usually has a turnout of between 60 and 120 volunteers. This year, over 175 volunteers turned out to help clean up over 6,100 pieces of garbage including almost 1,500 beverage bottles, almost 1,000 cans, close to 1,200 cigarette butts, and hundreds of pieces of wood. The City of Cedar Key already had volunteers helping to clean up after Hurricane Hermine for two weeks before the cleanup but there was still plenty of debris for International Coastal Cleanup volunteers to collect. We would like to thank all the volunteers that contributed to the cleanup in any way! Your support is so valuable to the community!
What makes the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) different from other cleanups?
- Data collection, revisiting same sites every year, and conducting this cleanup at the same time every year makes this cleanup more scientific than the average cleanup. The statistics are compiled and maintained by the Ocean Conservancy and an annual report is produced with all the data internationally. This report is extremely important for documenting the marine debris problem and is a valuable resource that would not be possible without hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours donated to the effort.
- The ICC helps guide locally targeted solutions for the marine debris problem. For example, an ongoing project by Cedar Key High School students has been tracking cigarette butts collected during the ICC – data from that effort helped guide the City of Cedar Key’s efforts to place disposal containers around town and results show they worked!
- Finally, the ICC is special because it brings together a very large group of people and organizations. In Cedar Key’s cleanup, there is typically participation of at least 20 organizations and more than 100 volunteers.
What were the top 5 items found last year?
Globally, #1 Cigarette Butts, #2 plastic beverage bottles, #3 food wrappers, #4 plastic bottle caps, #5 straws and stirrers. Locally in Cedar Key, cans and bottles (both plastic and glass) are the most common. These are everyday items that every person can do their part to reduce – either by refusing to use single-use plastics or ensuring proper disposal or recycling of the items.
What is the Clean Swell App?
The Clean Swell App is a new app for tracking marine debris cleanups any time of year – you can download it for free and use it to track your impacts on marine debris.
It has many functions including:
-Record every item of trash collected in real time
-Share Cleanup results and impact with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email
-Tracking of total distance cleaned
-Calculation of total weight of the trash collected
-Keeping historical record of Cleanup efforts
-Create ocean trash solutions by contributing to a global database and helping to identify trends
-Teaching scientific facts about the impact of trash on ocean animals and what you can do to help
Thank you to the 2016 Sponsors of the Cedar Key International Coastal Cleanup
Cedar Key Aquaculture Association
UF/IFAS Shellfish Aqua. Extension
UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station
Florida Nature Coast Conservancy
DEP Big Bend Aquatic Preserve
USFWS Cedar Keys NWR
Cedar Key Women’s Club
City of Cedar Key Marina
Southern Cross Sea Farms
Dog Island Blues Clams
Piney Point Fish Camp
Kayak Cedar Keys
Cedar Key News