Join the Ocean Blue Project in efforts to maintain safe food chains, water sources, and to enable marine life and seabirds to survive. Thousands of volunteers have helped since 2012. Together, we can make our interconnected One World Ocean healthier for future generations and remove one million tons of plastic by 2025!
We know there’s a lot of plastic in the Ocean. Ocean Blue volunteers have helped remove thousands of pounds of plastic from coastlines, bays and beaches coast to coast. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 79% of all beach debris is made of plastic. It flows in and out of the ocean, wreaking havoc on seabirds and marine organisms, and ultimately on humans.
The ocean is a mirror that reflects what is in our city streets. Rain, flash flooding or high winds washes litter and debris downhill, into street drains, urban streams, rivers, lakes, and eventually into the ocean. When it gets there depends on how far from the ocean you live. Plastic does not decompose; instead, it breaks down into tiny microplastics and harmful chemicals. These enter the water supply, and then the digestive tracts of humans and animals, threatening our water quality, our health, and wildlife.
Plastic pollution stretches from shorelines and the ocean surface to deep in the seabed. Of hundreds of millions of tons produced each year, only a tiny percentage is recycled. Most are poorly disposed of or leak from landfills and incineration facilities. According to a report by the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme:
Millions of marine animals have died from plastic pollution in oceans.
Every year, between ten and twenty million tons of plastic waste escape into oceanic waters.
By the year 2050, the ocean is projected to have more plastic by weight than fish.
Cleanups raise awareness and promote healthy environments, watersheds, and clean water projects that save the ocean from pollution. With a group, organization, friends or family, or even on your own, you can volunteer to help anytime, anywhere.
There are several ways to help. It’s simple. Together, we can make a vast difference, one person, one step at a time. We’ll provide all the tools and instructions you need to save the ocean from pollution! Be sure to register your cleanup event eight weeks in advance for the best possible cleanup experience.
Our mission is to prevent the devastating effects of ocean pollution and educate communities along the way. Whether you’re a party of one or one hundred, every pound of plastic removed from a beach, shoreline, waterway or urban area helps stop plastic from polluting oceans, breaking down into microplastics and harmful chemicals, and hurting or killing marine wildlife.
Every piece of plastic you recover from our environment allows greater chances of survival for marine life and seabirds. We can rescue them from harm simply by cleaning up the environment, one piece of plastic at a time. Even removing a few pieces can save lives of seabirds, penguins, eagles, fish, dolphins, seals, whales, pinnipeds, manatees, sea turtles, and many other creatures. No quantity or piece of plastic collected is too small!
In a report, Ocean Blue Project analyzed research on the effects of plastic pollution on wildlife and marine biodiversity. According to a United Nations Environment Program report, plastic causes an estimated $13 billion financial damage each year to marine ecosystems. This damage not only wreaks havoc on animals, it threatens human survival, which depends on the ocean ecosystem.
Each year plastic in the ocean kills an estimated one million seabirds and about 100,000 marine mammals, and severely injures thousands more. Many species, including already vulnerable and critically endangered sea turtles, get trapped and tangled in plastic debris, ghost fishing gear or fragments of abandoned nets.
Even if they don’t get caught, a shocking number of mammals and birds also mistake litter in the ocean, like small pieces of plastic for food. On beaches or underwater, plastic fragments can look a lot like other food to birds and animals. They trust what they find in their natural habitats. Alarming percentages of seabirds and marine species accidentally ingest plastic debris. Even small pieces can clog their digestive systems so badly that they eventually die, or the plastic in the ocean breaks down into toxic chemicals that lead to malnutrition and disease, reduced life span or reproductive capacity.
Marine mammals are at great risk. Numerous seals, dolphins, whales, sea lions, walruses, sea turtles, manatees and fish have consumed fatal amounts of the plastic debris, hence plastics in the food chain. In one case, a harp seal pup in eastern Canada died after ingesting a 2-inch piece of plastic, later found in its stomach near the intestine. Predators high up the food chain ingest even more microplastics from eating other species. Among deceased marine organisms, studies found ingested sea plastic in:
Likewise, ocean plastic debris puts numerous birds in grave danger. Millions of seabirds mistakenly ingest plastic debris, or feed it to their chicks, and more than a million die each year as a result. Birds such as mollymawks, petrels and shearwaters, eagles, and others consume hard plastic fragments from bottles and containers or soft pieces of balloon fragments and polystyrene. Studies that examined deceased bird species found ingested plastic in:
The amount of ocean plastic we can recover depends on Ocean cleanup volunteers like you! With partners, Ocean Blue Project is working on technology to recover microplastics from beaches, and to upcycle ocean plastic into new packaging and products, from shampoo bottles to buttons and skateboards. We need your help to safeguard the health of future generations, our water sources, and marine ecosystems. We’ve supported many organizations and individuals to help accomplish our mission. You can join the companies, universities, schools, youth groups, government agencies, families, friends and individuals who are making a vast difference!
“Plastic is washing up at alarming rates… destroying our ocean and harming our coast. Ocean Blue Project is working with federal agencies, universities, industry, and additional partners to find ways to reduce the amount of plastic on the Oregon coast. I, Kate Brown, Governor of the State of Oregon, hereby proclaim April 23, 2017 to be Annual Oregon Coast Cleanup Awareness Day and encourage all Oregonians to join in this observance.”
– Official Proclamation, State of Oregon, Office of the Governor, 2017
Thank you for supporting the mission of Ocean Blue Project, an Oregon-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to empowering individuals and communities to take a stand against plastic pollution.