Tips for Teens

Join or Start a Community Cleanup

Get active together and have fun as a group picking up whatever litter is out there. One big way you can help create a clean water future is by removing litter that is already in our waters or litter that is on the side of the road that will wash down into our our rivers, bayous and beaches.

Community cleanups are a great way to do something positive for your community, make friends, get service hours, exercise, and to help organizations monitor and learn about pollutants and problems in the watershed. There are many different kinds of cleanups already scheduled, and you can start your own, too.

Problems


750 Tons of Debris in Alabama in 30 Years

Since 1987, over 77,000 volunteers have participated in the Alabama Coastal Cleanups and picked up a total of more than 750 tons of debris. (Alabama Coastal Cleanup, 2015)

Debris on Dauphin Island Beach - Photo by Caitlin Wessel

Over 5 Million Tons of Plastic

Of the 300 million tons of plastic waste created in 2010 in coastal countries, scientists believe 5.2 to 14 million tons of it enters the oceans then washes up on our beaches (Science, 2015).

Degraded plastics recovered from Dauphin Island by Caitlin Wessel

Ocean Pollution Harms Marine Wildlife

Seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals are seriously affected by marine debris. The biggest threat is from entanglement by fishing gear, balloons or plastic bags (Ocean Conservancy, 2015).

Photo by Foerster - cc-by-2.0

179,141 Plastic Bags Picked Up

In 2015, volunteers picked up 90,790 plastic bags and 88,351 bags of other types in coastal cleanups across the country. Plastic bags are consistently in the top 10 of trash types collected during cleanup days worldwide (Ocean Conservancy, 2016).

More than 50,000 Foam Cups and Plates Recovered in 2015

In 2015 as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers recovered over 57,193 plastic cups and plates the majority of which were made from EPS foam (Ocean Conservancy, 2016).

Coastal Debris is Global a Problem

Recently, a clean up volunteer on a Hawaii beach found a bottle with a letter sent off in Japan in 2006! This demonstrates how ocean currents can transport pollution thousands of miles (Ocean Conservancy).

Photo by Alan Turkus - cc-by-2.0

Things You Can Do


Attend a Community Cleanup

View our community cleanup page for dates and times of area cleanups

Start a Social Media Page

Use Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram to connect with friends and help spread the word about picking up trash. Then tag pictures of your work with #CleanWaterFuture

Use Marine Debris Tracker App

You can participate in a project to help collect data about marine pollution by downloading and using the app for Android and iPhone.

Start Daily Litter Walks

Join up with friends or go solo, and do a daily litter clean up walk. Itís great exercise and helps keep trash out of our rivers and bays. Take a plastic bag with you, a pair of work gloves and a litter picker. Read about Mobilian Robin Roberts experience.

Organize Your Own Clean Up Event

Exercise your personal leadership skills and organize your own clean up event! You can rent a clean up kit at the Mobile Baykeeper.

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Resources

Links

Mobile Baykeeper

Cleanup kits available for rental from Mobile Baykeeper

Mobile Baykeeper

Rippl is a free iPhone application that helps you make simple, sustainable choices by delivering weekly green living tips.

Videos

Planet 100 video about The Pacific Trash Vortex

Store Items