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Do Beach Cleanups Really Make a Difference?



Do Beach Cleanups Really Make a Difference?

By R. Heliot

How often have you found yourself picking up a piece of litter at the beach? It might surprise you to find yourself recalling more times than you remembered. If the memory doesn’t stand out to you, you didn’t take the action into account. That one little piece of litter could have ended up in our ocean. It could have hurt our marine life.

That’s kind of the idea behind beach cleanup projects.

So, Do Beach Cleanups Actually Clean?


They do, actually. The piece of litter you picked up meant one less piece of litter that could end up in our oceans. Beach cleanup projects work the same way but in bigger numbers.

Beach cleanup projects protect our aquatic ecosystems from the harmful effects of pollution. They work on a larger scale. They clean up a lot of terrain.

Take nurdles, for example. Nurdles are little plastic pellets used in plastic production. Nurdles are tiny to the naked eye but can be devastating to aquatic ecosystems. Why? Because large amounts of nurdles can make their way into our water systems, according to NOAA. Near manufacturing sites, the numbers of nurdles found in bays can be as much as 30,000.


This Is Where Beach Cleanup Projects Come in

Create a beach cleanup with your company or community group of friends with Ocean Blue.

Beach cleanup projects produce results. This is how it works. Reducing our use of plastic reduces our personal carbon footprint. Removing debris from beaches reduces the effects of pollution on our oceans. It’s the same idea.

Environmental advocates come together for the same cause. The cause is to restore our oceans, beaches, rivers, and other aquatic ecosystems. During a beach cleanup, volunteers scan the sand for any debris. Debris can be anything from plastic bags, microplastics, fabrics, or any other kind of litter. Before the high tide comes in, volunteers steer the litter away from the ocean.

That way litter ends up in garbage bags, away from the ocean, where it belongs.

Debris Collected From Beach Cleanups Ends up Where It Belongs: Far From the Ocean


The closer plastic is to shore, the more likely it will end up in the ocean at some point. It’s like a sandcastle built too close to shore. The waves will consume it. 

Beach cleanup projects remove litter from the shoreline and ensure its proper disposal. Microplastics and recyclable materials are often found during beach cleanups. Through proper disposal, these materials transform into recycled products. Waste facilities collect the rest of the debris found through beach cleanups. That way litter stays off our beaches.

Organizations gather a team of volunteers to aid in beach cleanups. They also create a network of businesses and organizations with the same vision. They work together for ocean and beach conservation initiatives.

What is a beach cleanup like?

You might imagine working away under a scorching sun. You might imagine miles and miles of terrain to cover. You might imagine your knees deep in debris. These are common misconceptions. The reality is much brighter.

A beach cleanup is more like the last vacation you had at the beach. Beach cleanups are events created for groups, communities, and families. They offer a chance to learn more about marine ecosystems. Volunteers get a chance to contribute to ocean conservation through action. Organizations like Ocean Blue Project, restore beaches through beach cleanup projects.

You Don’t Have To Swim With Sharks To Save the Ocean

We can’t all be a shark whisperer superhero like Cristina Zenato. What we can do is be a part of beach cleanups projects.

These projects make oceans much safer for marine life to thrive in. Beach cleanup projects are a safe way to restore oceans and clear debris from beaches. They also give experts a chance to educate the public on ocean conservation.

Organizations, such as Ocean Blue Project, ensure safety. They bring the community together through safe measures. Organized beach cleanup projects bring people together.

Beach cleanups engage volunteers. They create networking opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Plus, they’re educational.


Small Efforts Lead To Big Differences

Beach cleanup projects are like ripples in a pond. They aid in beach restoration. They prevent debris from flowing back into the ocean. They also protect marine life from getting killed due to debris.

Marine life often suffers from the harmful effects of pollution. They suffocate from eating litter mistaken for food. They can die from getting trapped or caught in debris found in the ocean.

Turtles, seagulls, whales, dolphins, and many more species suffer because of pollution. Unattended litter makes its way deeper into the sea.

Beach cleanup near me and Ocean cleanup projects pick up litter on the shore. This prevents litter from making its way into the ocean. This way, volunteers create a brighter future for our marine life. How does plastic end up on beaches?

Stats & Facts

Not all debris is equal. Some materials take longer to break down once they are in the ocean. Plastic bottles and plastic straws wreak the most havoc, taking over 199 years to break down.  A total of 8 million tons of plastic float somewhere in the ocean, according to Ocean Blue Project.

Many ocean conservation organizations help protect the ocean through beach cleanup projects. Ocean Blue Project removed 181,273 pounds of debris from beaches and waterways since 2012. It removed 82,582 pounds of debris in 2019 alone.

Ocean Conservancy, a similar organization, recorded removing 20,772,394 pounds of debris in 2019. They work with large corporations to organize beach cleanup projects around the globe. They reported picking up a total of 32,485,488 pieces of litter in total.


Take Action


Ocean Blue Project is a non-profit organization conserving our oceans, beaches, and rivers.  Through action, education, and news, we strive to make a difference for our environment.

We organize microplastics cleanup projects to rehabilitate aquatic ecosystems. Our environmental news blog educates the public on the latest updates and our work.

We work with volunteers and communities around the nation to restore aquatic environments. Learn more about how our organization aids in ocean, beach, and river conservation.
Subscribe to our blog now.

Make a Donation

Ocean Blue Project works with volunteers who believe in our cause as much as we do. When you donate to Ocean Blue Project, you are donating to our four main programs. These include Microplastic Recovery, Cleanup Projects, Blue Streams & Rivers, and Blue Schools. When you buy merchandise from the Ocean Blue Project online store, the profits go directly into our projects, not pockets. All proceeds fund our cause. Your donations make all the difference.

Volunteer With Us – Beach Cleanup Near Me

Ocean Blue Project organizes volunteers year-round. Find an event near you or subscribe to our mailing list to receive the most up to date information on how to help.

Join us on our next beach, river, or ocean cleanup projects and be part of our network of water warriors. See how your skills can make a difference. Ocean Blue Project works with university students, schools, groups, and individuals. Connect with us and learn more about how you can contribute to our cause.

Author Bio: R. Heliot is a freelance copywriter. She is also a current MBA student at the University of Houston-Victoria. In her spare time, she loves to travel, hike, and swim in the ocean.