As we near June 5th, World Environment Day, we’re ready to roll our sleeves up and get our hands dirty to find the solution to pollution- the greatest threat to our oceans and life as we know it.
Like you’ve already read about the state of plastic pollution and its effect on our oceans and simple changes you can make to do your part against ocean pollution, you know that every person can do something to help.
And, if you think picking up a plastic bag or two won’t make a difference, just check out these photos of sea creatures confronting the effects of water pollution through ordinary plastic pieces like six pack can rings, rubber bands, plastic bags, and more.
What’s more, you’ll help prevent these garbage in the ocean from turning into microplastic particles down the line, entering into the digestive tracts of all forms of marine life and, eventually, us.
So, without further ado, here are some awesome events around the country this 2018- listed by geographic region- to help rid our communities and oceans of plastic, plus some tips you can use to take a step further against marine pollution and take matters into your own hands, too.
You can help reduce trash in the ocean (and in the waterways that lead to it) in the Northeastern US at…
- Various spots along the Conestoga River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on June 9 as part of Lancaster Water Week
- Tenants Harbor, Maine, on June 10 hosted by United by Blue
- Odiorne Point State Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on June 13 hosted by United by Blue
- The Connecticut Interfaith cleanup at Long Wharf Beach, Connecticut, on June 24 hosted by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network
- The Bronx River Reservation, Westchester, New York, on June 26 hosted by the Westchester Parks Foundation’s Clean River Project
- Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut, on July 7, by Cinder + Salt (in collaboration with Yelp!)
- NYC and Long Island waterfront cleanups, on September 15 by the American Littoral Society
- The Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, hosted by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy on various dates through October 3
- NJ shorelines from the Raritan to Delaware Bays on October 20 hosted by Clean Ocean Action
- NJ waterway cleanups by NY/NJ Baykeeper through November 18
- NY waterways through the Riverkeeper Sweep on May 4, 2019 (save the date for next year!)
Around the Southeast US, get your feet wet and alleviate pollution problems at…
- The Anacostia Waterfront in Washington, D.C., with the United Nations on June 5 (please note registration is absolutely required)
- Inland Bays, DE, hosted by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays on on June 9
- Multiple sites along the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted by the Louisville MSD on June 16
- Curry’s Fork Creeks in La Grange, Kentucky, hosted by the Curry’s Fork Watershed Project on multiple dates from June 13 to July 3
- Beaches along the Dunedin Causeway, Florida, hosted by Salty Soul on July 7
- The Deerfield Beach Pier, Florida, with yoga, surfing, and beach cleaning, hosted by Island Water Sports, Billabong & Yoga Joint Deerfield on July 21
- Kingman Island in the Washington, D.C. area by the Ocean Conservancy on September 15
- Pinellas Park, Florida, via kayaks and canoes by Keep Pinellas Beautiful on October 6
- The Collier Preserve in Powell, Tennessee, hosted by the Legacy Parks Foundation on August 4
- Multiple sites along the French Broad River in Asheville and Brevard, North Carolina, hosted by MountainTrue on multiple dates from June 28 to September 15
Roll up your sleeves around the Midwest and the Southwest at…
- Ohio City, Cleveland, OH, hosted by Ohio City Incorporated on June 9
- Montrose Beach, Chicago, IL, on June 9 by Volunteering Untapped ChicagoWest Englewood, Chicago, IL, on various dates from June 9 to September 8, hosted by the Unconventional Coalition’s Green & Clean Project
- Lake Michigan shore and the Chicago Metro Area, IL, on various dates through December, hosted by the Shedd Aquarium
- Blue Earth River, Minnesota, via kayak hosted by the Blue Earth Project on June 10 (first 25 volunteers to register will get to kayak for free!)
- Bolivar Alley in Cincinnati, OH, hosted by Spring in Our Steps on June 10
- Bradley Park, Chicago, on June 16 by the Chicago Parks Foundation
- Greenwood Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, by the SGWS MO on June 16
- Bronzeville, Chicago, IL, hosted by the Young Chicago Leaders on June 30
- The Chicago River system in Chicago, IL, hosted by Friends of the Chicago River; though this year’s Chicago River Day has passed, mark your calendars for a date in May 2019
- Rowing Dock in Austin, Texas, on June 10, hosted by 365 Things Austin
- Horse Trail at Equest in Dallas, TX on June 30 by Honor Courage Commitment
- Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill, Texas, every 1st Saturday of the month starting July 7, hosted by Backyard Wildlife Resource Center
- Galveston Bay in Houston, Texas, cleanups by the Galveston Bay Foundation on various dates
- Texas shorelines through the Adopt-a-Beach Program on September 15
- Dallas on October 20, as part of Operation Beautification by the City of Dallas, TX (registration opens in September)
- The Trinity River in Dallas, TX, on a date of your choosing; contact a coordinator at the Trinity River Corridor Project
- Any river in Texas with the help of the Texas Rivers Protection Association on a date of your choosing
Make an impact on water pollution near the Rocky Mountains and West Coast at…
- America the Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on June 23, hosted by UpaDowna
- Sellwood Riverfront Park in Portland, Oregon, on July 10, hosted by the Surfrider Foundation Portland Chapter (this is a kayaking expedition with kayaks to be provided!)
- The Scott Pierson Trail in Tacoma, Washington, on July 14 and September 15, hosted by the Tacoma Central Neighborhood Council
- Multiple cities in Oregon from June 8 to October 20, hosted by the Ocean Blue Project (includes Newport, Waldport, Yachat, Florence, Bandon, Bookings, and Albany)
- Ocean Beach in San Francsico, CA, hosted by Wild Aid on June 9
- Ocean Beach Park in San Diego, CA, hosted by Greenpeace San Diego on June 9
- Venice Beach, CA, hosted by Heal the Bay on June 16
- Multiple cities in LA County, California from June 16 to November 17, hosted by Heal the Bay (includes Venice Beach, Redondo Beach, Toes Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Hermosa Beach); in fact, train to be a Site Captain as early as June 20 for Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15
- Sunset Point, Los Angeles, CA, on June 17, by the Surfrider Foundation of Los Angeles
- Santa Monica Beach, CA, hosted by the Surfrider Foundation of Los Angeles on June 23
- Multiple cities in California from July 14 to August 18, hosted by the Ocean Blue Project (includes Smith River, Crescent, Trinidad, Los Angeles, and San Pedro)
- Guadalupe River in San Jose, CA, on September 25 hosted by Save the Bay
- Ballona Creek at Marina del Rey, CA, on June 9 hosted by the Ballona Creek Rennaissance
Browse through any of these events here to find more locations and dates to fit your needs!
Help stop the growth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the plastic island in the Pacific) at…
- Various locations across Hawaii throughout the year, hosted by 808 Cleanups
- Baby Makapu’u (Kaupo Bay) on June 8 by the Waikiki Aquarium Volunteer Center
- One’ula Beach on Oʻahu, HI, on June 9
- Various locations across the Hawaiian Islands on various dates starting from June 9 (with yoga and live music) to November 17, hosted by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
- Kahuku Golf Course Beach Park on Oʻahu, HI, on June 16
- Mokuleia Beach on Oʻahu, HI, on June 30
- Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, hosted by the Waikiki Ohana Workforce on July 21 and October 27
Wherever you choose to go, use apps to document what you’ve picked up and help researchers collect valuable data.
According to the Ocean Conservancy, data gathered from debris collection can help “inform policy and determine solutions to the growing marine debris crisis.”
Though it may seem like a hassle, the information you provide could help provide impactful evidence that may create bigger changes from the top. Try these options:
- The Marine Debris Tracker (available on iTunes and Google Play) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
- Clean Swell (available on iTunes and Google Play) from the Ocean Conservancy
Don’t see a cleanup near you?
You can find more dates and locations by searching at United by Blue, Eventbrite, VolunteeerMatch, and more online.
You can also reach out to any of the organizations above, local Riverkeeper groups, aquariums, and more to have them help set up a cleanup for you.
Remember, you don’t have to live near a shoreline or body of water to make an impact on plastic pollution. In fact, even by helping remove litter from public places in towns, cities, or anywhere, you help prevent debris from reaching storm drains that eventually lead to larger waterways.
Take your enthusiasm a step further and reach out to a conservation organization near you and create a new event together! But, better yet…
Want to organize your own cleanup?
You can learn how with resources from the Ocean Conservancy. All you’ll really need is a few friends, time, and a love of our planet and passion for environmental protection.
But, remember, when you’re out doing your part for the environment, stay protected from the sun and bugs with sunscreen, a hat, long sleeves, and long pants where appropriate.
It’s also a good idea to bring work gloves (in case they’re not already provided) and closed shoes that are waterproof and are easy to clean.
If you are joining one of the cleanups above, check in with the organizer to see what you need to prepare in advance, e.g. a waiver.
If hosting your own cleanup is too much for you right now, contact one of the organizations above, or any one that’s committed to environmental protection, and let them know you’d like to set up a cleanup. Private options are often available, especially for corporate groups (and could help a lot with team building!).
Join Hands in the Fight for Our Planet
We’d love you to share more with us and challenge you- yes you!- to show us what you’ll do switch from single-use plastics to reusable, sustainable options and to tag three friends to do the same. When you upload it to social media, don’t forget to tag #TzuChiGoGreen and #BeatPlasticPollution. Let’s show we can make a difference!