Last year’s ICC resulted in more than 18 million pounds of trash—equivalent to the weight of more than 100 Boeing 737s—collected by nearly 800,000 volunteers. Together, more than 11 million volunteers have removed more than 210 million pounds of trash as part of this program since it began!
Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean. This is troubling news for the health of our oceans, wildlife species, and humans alike. Many different species of marine life, including marine birds, have been documented with ocean trash, especially plastic, in their stomachs.
Although these numbers can be disheartening, there is still reason to have hope and actions we can take to make a difference. Recently, the National Aquarium entered an agreement to become the Maryland State Coordinator for the ICC. This means that the Aquarium will act as a coordinating body for all ICC events in Maryland, assist with marine debris related education, and promote cleanup events in collaboration with the Ocean Conservancy. With this appointment, the Aquarium will bring with it over 15 years of experience with ICC events.
Last year’s ICC events in Maryland alone resulted in 41,278 pounds of debris being removed. The Aquarium will work to continue these efforts and expand the reach of ICC within Maryland. The Aquarium is proud to be part of the ICC and looks forward to taking on a new leadership role within this global effort to reduce and prevent marine debris.
You can help reduce marine debris by participating in the National Aquarium’s ICC in Baltimore on September 17 or at any ICC cleanup near you.