Ocean coastline clean-up conducted by charity the Ocean Conservancy saw volunteers collect enough plastic bags to create more than one million capes

More than a million people took part in the International Coastal Cleanup (Credit Pixabay)

More than a million people took part in the International Coastal Cleanup (Credit: Pixabay)

More than one million plastic bottles were collected during a globally conducted clean-up of waste on beaches in 2018, according to environment charity the Ocean Conservancy.

The organisation, which was founded in 1972, released its 33rd annual report on the state of waste on the world’s beaches, based on data collected during its yearly 2018 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) event.

More than a million volunteers across 122 countries took part in the campaign titled “Suit Up to Clean Up” – the highest turn-out since ICC first launched in 1986 – collecting more than ten million kilogrammes of waste.

In the opening statement of The Beach and Beyond report, Ocean Conservancy chief executive Janis Jones said: “People suit up to get things done, to change the world, to take on problems of epic scale.

“Unfortunately, ocean plastic is one such problem. An estimated eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year.

“That’s the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic every minute, every hour, every day going into the ocean.

“Ocean plastic doesn’t just pollute our beaches and coastlines; it also impacts more than 800 species of marine life.

“And with plastic showing up in places as remote as Arctic ice and flowing into rivers hundreds of miles before reaching the ocean, we can’t just focus on the beach. We have to fight ocean plastic on the beach … and beyond.”


Plastic food wrappers and cigarette butts among most-discovered items

In its report, Ocean Conservancy listed the top ten most-found items across its worldwide, day-long event.

Of the 97 million items of waste collected, cigarette butts led the way at 6 million,  followed by 3.7 million food wrappers and 3.6 million plastic straws or stirrers.

plastic ocean clean-up
Over the course of the day, the volunteers collected more than ten million kilogrammes of waste (Credit: Pixabay)

Combined, more than three million single-use plastic drink containers were collected, along with close to two million plastic bags.

Other products on the list included 1.9 million items of plastic cutlery, 728,892 lids, and 656,276 plastic cups.

They also found enough beverage cans to make 308 suits of armour and enough plastic bags to create more than one million capes.

Alongside this, more than 70 million tiny pieces of waste – items measuring less than 2.5cm – which included foam, glass and plastic pieces, were found.

Products found on the day included a games console, an astronaut toy, dentures, a chandelier and a Christmas tree.