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In the 1950s, single-use plasticseveryday items like shopping bags, disposable utensils, straws, and food containerswere first introduced to the public. Over the ensuing decades, they revolutionized “convenience” in society — from pre-wrapped plasticware at fast-food restaurants to the bags and packaging accompanying nearly every purchase at grocery and department stores alike. However, our reliance on convenience and comfort has come with a great environmental cost.

Plastic waste washed ashore.
Plastic waste washed on shore.

Today, the global toll of plastic pollution is an environmental calamity.

The world now generates 400 million tons of plastic waste each year yet only 9% of plastics generated have been recycled. Of that, 8 million tons find their way into our oceans annually, covering 40% of ocean surface. Not only are plastics found in the stomachs of fish and marine animals that humans rely on as a food source, but entanglement also kills more than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals annually.  

Plastic pollution is choking our oceans, waterways, and everything that relies on them. And it’s estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. 

A seagull entangled in plastic.
A seagull entangled in plastic.

But there’s plenty that we can do to make a difference. 

On September 16th, conservation and volunteer organizations across the globe are partnering for the 38th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). For nearly 40 years, this initiative has engaged and inspired 17 million people from all corners of the globe to come together and remove more than 350 million pounds of trash and debris from our beaches and waterways.

If you’re ready to make a difference in Florida by cleaning up our coasts and waterways, check out the list of events below, the Florida State Parks event page, or the Ocean Conservancy’s interactive global map. Most events take place on Saturday, September 16th, however, some events run through October.  


38th International Coastal Cleanup Events

Alachua County 

Ongoing – Current Problems

Bay County 

September 16th – St. Andrew Bay Watch

Brevard County 

September 16th –Cocoa Village

September 16th – Keep Brevard Beautiful

Broward County 

September 16th – Broward County

Gulf County 

September 16th – William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Recreation Area

Indian River County 

September 16th – Coastal Connections

September 16th – Keep Indian River Beautiful


Lee County 

September 16th – Keep Lee County Beautiful


Levy County 

September 16th – University of Florida & City of Cedar Key

Miami-Dade County 

September 16th – Multiple Events


Nassau County 

September 16th – Keep Nassau Beautiful


Palm Beach County 

September 23rd – Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park

September 23rd – Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful

September 23rd – Keep West Palm Beach Beautiful


Pinellas County 

October 21st – Keep Pinellas Beautiful


St. Johns County 

Ongoing – Keep St. Johns Beautiful

September 16th – Sol Margin Fishing

September 16th – Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway


Volusia County 

September 16th –  Volusia County Environmental Management

Wakulla County 

September 16th – Keep Wakulla County Beautiful

Walton County 

September 16th – Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance

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