Back in 2012, 561,633 very nice people went out on beaches around the world and picked up the trash that other people had thrown there. They picked up an astounding 10 million pounds. That’s the weight of 5,000 cars. It’s heavier than the Capitol dome.
What’s even more astounding is that this isn’t even the most trash the Ocean Conservancy has collected in the 27 years this challenge has been going. Twice before, volunteers collected more than this amount of trash, measured in weight, and once before, they collected more total items.
The volunteers found a lot of what you might expect: 2,117,931 cigarette butts, 1,140,222 food wrappers/containers, 1,065,171 plastic bottles, and 958,893 caps and lids. (We feel bad for whoever had to count all of this. We hope it’s guesstimated but those numbers are weirdly specific.) They also found 40 lottery tickets, 2,492 sports balls, and 117 mattresses.
There’s not much else to say besides this: The beach may look a little like a litter box, but it’s not a box for your litter. Put your damn garbage in the trash. And stop smoking so much.