#SeatheChange: Are You Ready for International Coastal Cleanup 2023?
by Carolyn Lee Aug 21, 2023
International Coastal Cleanup® (ICC) aims to raise awareness about pollution on beaches worldwide. ICC Day is held annually on the third Saturday of September and is led by the Ocean Conservancy. ICC Day will be held this year on 16 September 2023, with the theme #SeatheChange focusing on plastic pollution. The day marks one of the world’s most significant annual protection and preservation events of volunteer efforts.
Plastic pollution continues to be a problem for our oceans, contaminating the homes of millions of sea creatures. However, small actions can make a big difference. ICC Day reminds us that removing trash, plastic straws, bottles, and other garbage helps keep the ocean clean and healthy.
Ocean Conservation has tracked ICC volunteers’ work for over 35 years, removing more than 350 million pounds of debris and plastic during clean-up efforts. They recorded what they found, helping to inform research and legislation globally.
How can you help?
Join a local government agency in your country or community. You can also invite friends or relatives to participate in helping to clean a beach, river, or lake near you. Do not restrict your efforts to water bodies only; parks and sidewalks often have trash that needs removing.
If you want to include valuable feedback on your actions, create a spreadsheet or use the one provided by your local agency to track the type of trash you collect. You can continue your cleaning-up efforts throughout September or beyond.
It helps to sensitise others to the work you are doing, and social media offers several platforms you can use to share your cleaning-up efforts to inspire others. Remember to use #SeatheChange and tag Ocean Conservancy and the local agency you’ve partnered with to spread awareness.
Tips to keep safe during cleaning-up
Choose a location: Pick a safe place and consider where you will properly dispose of trash. Ensure that you and your team are physically capable of the task. Choose an area you can manage.
Organise: You can assign different tasks to members of the group. Someone can document data on what is collected and quantity. Then give assignments for cleaning separate sections, distributing clean-up items, or providing refreshments.
Make a checklist of needed items: Gather materials like hand sanitiser, a reusable water bottle, proper masks and gloves, trash bags, grabbers, and closed-toed shoes. If you partner with a government organisation and join a team, they might provide some of these items.
Be aware during clean-up: Use gloves to safely collect trash and document your efforts (pictures, recordings, etc.). Look out for broken bottles, used needles, or other potentially dangerous items. Avoid picking up trash you are uncomfortable with.
Dispose of waste properly: Do not place trash bags in overflowing bins, as this might cause items to fly away and end up back in the water. Place garbage in the correct bags/bins (plastic bottles, sharp objects, needles, etc.).
Exercise care after clean-up: After collecting items, carefully remove gloves and wash hands and arms with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should also thoroughly sanitise the gear (gloves, grabbers, and buckets) used during the clean-up.
Please use Find Yello to search for supermarkets, stores, and other businesses with products that can make cleaning up easier. Let us do our best to make our oceans, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and communities free of plastic pollution for a healthier, happier environment!
Sources: National Today, Ocean Conservancy, and Jamaica Observer.