Over the past 30 years, Trash Free Seas Alliance programming has mobilized more than 12 million volunteers to collect nearly 250 million pounds of plastic and trash from the world’s oceans and beaches. AVDF funds for this initiative support both practical efforts to address the problem of ocean plastics, and public engagement campaigns aimed at raising public awareness about this environmental threat.
The grant specifically supports the removal of “ghost gear” (abandoned or lost fishing gear) in the Gulf of Maine and sponsors research into the efficacy of U.S. waste management and recycling systems in preventing plastics from reaching the ocean. Ocean Conservancy is also undertaking efforts to educate the public about both the problem of ocean plastics and possible long-term solutions.
Trash Free Seas Alliance director Nick Mallos was recently featured in a segment on CBS This Morning to discuss the impact of discarded plastics on ocean life and sea birds, as well as the importance of stemming the flow of plastics into the oceans. In a blog post featuring the CBS clip, Mallos notes that “many of the plastics you touch in your daily life are used only once and thrown away, or at best, recycled.” While waste collection and recycling are an important component of a clean water solution, solving the “overwhelming” problem of ocean plastic will require a multi-pronged, concerted effort.
Read more about the work that Ocean Conservancy is doing here.