Partner Spotlight, Plastic Pollution
September 27 2016

An Impactful International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 17, 2016!

by Mary Herbranson

International Coastal Cleanup Day is arguably the world's largest annual preservation and protection event and volunteer effort for our ocean, waves and beaches.

It is a global movement that encompasses 6 million volunteers in 90 countries and all of the United States. Surfrider Foundation chapters engaged and motivated their communities to take action at local beach cleanups. The cumulative result is not only cleaner and healthier coastline but also a raised consciousness for accessible actions people can integrate into their lives to promote healthy beaches on a daily bases.

Thank you to every volunteer who participated on International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday September 17, 2016. It was an extraordinary effort towards our mission to protect and enjoy our ocean, waves and beaches!

In partnership with Parley for the Oceans, the Surfrider Foundation HQ and the West Los Angeles / Malibu Chapter organized a beach cleanup on Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Monica that incorporated sorting plastic marine debris that will be recycled into raw material for future products. A swell of over 1,000 volunteers attended the cleanup location which was also shared by Heal the Bay, a Los Angeles based conservation organization!

View a video from the cleanup here.

It did not come as a surprise, though it is none the less disappointing, that the top five most commonly collected items on International Coastal Cleanup Day were cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws, respectively. All are forms of plastic debris.​ The very qualities that make plastic an adaptable and durable product to use, also make it an environmental nightmare. Plastics do not biodegrade. Instead they break down with exposure to weather and the sun’s ultraviolet rays, into smaller and smaller pieces. When these pieces infiltrate the environment, especially marine environments, they wreak havoc on wildlife and the ecosystem.

In October, Surfrider will highlight plastic related facts, as well as tips on how to reduce your individual plastic footprint in an effort to raise awareness about the need to Rise Above Plastics to help protect the marine environment. A great compliment to this initiative, our new partner Parley approaches long-term solutions through its comprehensive, multidisciplinary Ocean Plastic Program realized in three key pillars of action, also called the Parley A.I.R. Strategy:

Avoid the unnecessary.

Plastic is a design failure to be avoided as much as possible. When it’s unavoidable, cut into the unnecessary fossil fuel-based production of virgin plastic by recycling materials in a closed loop.

Intercept current plastic pollution.

Every piece of plastic ever produced is still out there in some form. Through its Global Cleanup Network, Parley intercepts plastic from remote shorelines, waterways, and the high seas, diverts waste from landfills, and upcycles recovered materials to disrupt the cycle of pollution.

Redesign and rethink the ways we live on this blue planet.

The only way we’ll solve this for good is through eco innovation. Parley is working to disrupt plastic-centric product categories, reinvent plastic, and set new standards within the creative industries for developing, distributing and promoting products.

Surfrider Foundation is grateful to collaborate with authentic partners to further our national mission work and empower our chapter network at the local level.