The Mexico Beach Civic Association will again this year be a part of the Ocean Conservancy’s movement for ‘Trash Free Seas” when the 28th annual International Coastal Cleanup takes place next weekend.

The Mexico Beach Civic Association will again this year be a part of the Ocean Conservancy’s movement for ‘Trash Free Seas” when the 28th annual International Coastal Cleanup takes place next weekend.

The cleanup at Mexico Beach will begin at 8:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Sunset Park. The cleanup will continue until 10:30 a.m.

“This is a great family activity,” said Jane Mathis of the Mexico Beach Civic Association. “Meet some new people!  Just show up; there is no need to register ahead of time.”

The Mexico Beach volunteers join hundreds of thousands across the globe who participate in this annual event. The International Coast Cleanup is the world's largest volunteer effort to help protect our ocean, lakes and rivers. 

Volunteers spend a few hours removing trash and debris from beaches, lakes, and rivers keeping track of every piece of trash they find. Ocean Conservancy uses that information to produce an annual snapshot of the problem of marine debris.

In the past 27 years, more than 9.6 million volunteers have removed 160 million pounds of trash from roughly 330,000 miles of coastline and waterways in 153 countries and locations.

“Last year volunteers picked up a quantity of trash equivalent to the weight of 10 jumbo jets, which demonstrates the more people who come out, the bigger impact we can have,” said Nicholas Mallos, marine debris specialist of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program. “Seeing the trash along the beaches and waterways makes you realize; just because trash is thrown away and out of sight doesn’t mean it is out of the our ocean.

“And the continuous need for the cleanup indicates we’re not winning the battle upstream. The Cleanup is a starting point and just one way people can help fight the problem of ocean trash.”

In Florida alone, 23,362 volunteers found over 450,000 pounds of trash in 2012. In Mexico Beach, 37 volunteers found almost 800 pounds of trash, 1,000 pounds in 2011, on the 3.1 miles of beach.   

Ocean trash, according to a release from the Ocean Conservancy, is a multi-layered threat. It is a threat to economies, to wildlife and wildlife habitat and a threat to health and food safety.

The cleanup is centered on Ocean Conservancy’s goal of tackling trash at every point in its lifecycle. While cleaning up trash that’s already made it to our waterways is vital, it’s not enough, Mallos said.

Through individual responsibility, innovative science, smart public policy and industry leadership, we can find comprehensive solutions to the problem of ocean trash that will lead to healthier beaches and oceans.

“Every piece of trash that is picked up during the Cleanup should be a challenge for change,” Mallos said. “The trash that tops our Top 10 list every year – things like cigarette butts, bags and bottle caps – include disposable plastics meant for one-time usage. These items simply do not belong in our natural environment.”

The cleanup is part of a larger strategy for Trash Free Seas and is one of the many ways the Ocean Conservancy is helping to find answers and solutions to for marine debris.

Other efforts include supporting a scientific working group at the world’s leading ecological think tank, The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis to identify the scope and impact of marine debris on ocean ecosystems; building a Trash Free Seas Alliance of industry, science and conservation leaders committed to reducing waste; and launching a mobile app, Rippl, to help people make sustainable lifestyle choices that limit their trash impact.

The data collected during the International Cleanup is also used to provide a baseline for the kinds of debris washing ashore. It is an opportunity to gather data and a snapshot of what is found on beaches and coastlines, the release detailed.

For more information on the Mexico Beach cleanup or if you have questions, please contact Jane Mathis at 850.648.5900 or email her at



The 2012 International Coastal Cleanup, by the numbers:


* Over 550,000 people (561,633) picked up more than 10 million pounds of trash (10,149,988) along nearly 20,000 miles of coastlines (17,719). 

* Over the past 27 years, more than 9.5 million volunteers (9,654,895) have removed more than 160 million pounds of trash (163,940,907) pounds of trash from about 300,000 miles of shoreline (330,009) miles of coastline and waterways in 153 countries and locations.

Volunteers found in 2012:

* Enough trash to fill Disney’s Epcot ball.

* Enough plastic straws and stirrers, when stacked end to end, are 14 times taller than the height of Mount Everest.

* Enough disposable cigarette lighters to start more than 178 million campfires.

* Enough beverage bottles that, when stacked end to end, are equal to 1,000 Empire State Buildings, 2,408 Space Needles, 1,368 Eiffel Towers and the distance between New York and Washington, D.C.

In the past 27 years of cleanups, volunteers found:

* Fifty-seven million cigarettes butts, which if stacked vertically, would be as tall as 3,613 Empire State Buildings.

* Enough glass and plastic bottles to provide every resident of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia and Phoenix a cold beverage on a hot summer day.

* Almost 10 million plastic bags (9,806,905) which required 1,176 barrels of oil to produce.

* Enough appliances (125,156) to fill 37,434 single-axle dump trucks.

* More than 1 million (1,017,444) diapers – enough to put one on every child born in the Japan last year.

* Enough cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons to host a picnic for 2.3 million people.