- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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 today, catalogs nearly 7.2 million items that were collected by volunteers on a single day in 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.

“This is a snapshot of one day, one moment in time, but it serves as a powerful reminder of our carelessness and how our disparate and random actions actually have a collective and global impact,” said Vikki Spruill, president of the Ocean Conservancy.

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 and picked up 3.9 million pounds of debris on a single Saturday, according to the report.


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