More than eight million kilograms of trash was collected by nearly 800,000 volunteers in 92 countries during Ocean Conservancy’s 2015 International Coastal Cleanup. The data is reported in Ocean Conservancy’s 2016 Ocean Trash Index which was released yesterday which you can access at oceanconservancy.org
Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index is the world’s largest item-by-item, location-by-location database of trash found in near-shore environments, representing the efforts of more than 11.5 million volunteers over 30 years!
The solid pollutant of greatest concern in the marine environment is plastic waste with the top five most commonly collected items being cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws. This pattern is true of Singapore, but we see our list topped by expanded polystyrene (EPS) or styrofoam pieces.
Of the 92 countries, the turnout in the The Philippines was highlighted for good reason – more than quarter a million Filipinos retrieved more than 400,000 pieces of trash over nearly 1,000 kilometers of shoreline, weighing more than 300 tonnes. What a big relief for their shores!
Singapore’s entry this year is blank because the 2015 cleanup was cancelled due to the poor air condition caused by the transboundary haze pollution. Besides Singapore, Dominica’s cleanup was also cancelled, due to a tropical storm.
2016 is the 25th year of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore. Let’s hope we’ll be spared the haze, as volunteers are usually able to clear between 14 – 20 tonnes of trash from our shores. The marine environment certainly does deserve the relief coastal cleanup volunteers provide.