According to Earth Day, approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown in the ocean annually. While these stats are less than ideal, companies all around the world are creating initiatives and programs to help with our pollution problem and inspire others to do their part. In this episode of TWT, we learn about one such mission taken on by Sperry, who has designed a line of shoes made of discarded plastic. TWT Field Reporter, Jackie, got an inside look at the process of creating these shoes- from a waste cleanup on the beaches of Costa Rica all the way to seeing the final collection and getting her own pair. Each pair of shoes is made from five plastic water bottles and is designed to mimic the coloring of a sailboat. It’s inspiring to see people making our world a better place one step at a time, but it might leave you thinking- how can I get involved? Here’s a list of some ocean cleanup events like the one in this episode that will be taking place this year:

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International Coastal Cleanup Day

Did you know you could plan a beach vacation and also volunteer to help the environment? September 21, 2019, is International Coastal Cleanup Day where volunteers from select coastal locations around the world come together to clean up plastics and contaminants from our beaches. This program has been active for over three decades now with a total of more than 12 million volunteers participating in the event. Ocean Conservancy states that, over the course of holding this event, they’ve collected over 220 million pounds of trash from global beaches. Local environmental groups will host and assist with each event to assure it runs smoothly. For example, in L.A. County, it’s hosted by Heal The Bay who last year brought together 13,464 people and removed 29.8 tons of trash. All of this was accomplished across 78 cleanup sites in a 3-hour time span. Equally dedicated groups will be participating from all around the world so, if you want to plan the greenest vacation ever, you can go to the Ocean Conservancy’s website to sign up for this year’s event.

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Fall Beach Sweeps

Planned to take place on October 26, 2019, Beach Sweeps is an annual cleanup program run specifically out of the state of New Jersey. The program began in 1985, making it one of the longest-running cleanups worldwide. It had humble beginnings, starting in one site with a total of 75 volunteers. It has grown immensely since then, most recently clocking in at 9,000 volunteers in 2018. Since 1985, the program has had roughly 133,390 volunteers and cleaned an estimate of 6.7 million pieces of debris. In addition to removing litter and harmful materials from their beaches, the volunteers also collect valuable data and write reports about the pollution in order to further state-wide litter programs.

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Orange County Coastkeeper

In addition to global and state-wide programs, smaller groups are also making efforts to keep our beaches clean. Take Orange County Cleanup, this group will host smaller cleanups more frequently on a few local beaches. For example, they have a San Clemente beach cleanup that hosts an event on the first Saturday of every month, keeping people up to date on the quantity of trash picked up at each location on their website so participants can see their impact. It may not be the 220 million pounds we see from the national event, but when it comes to keeping our oceans safe, every piece counts.