2016 Ocean Trash Index

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It is hard to say what motivated the teachers from Denton, Texas, who drove a small yellow school bus full of seventh graders to Corpus Christi for the coastal cleanup. I saw that bus with the cheerful but tired students leaving for a long drive back home. I never had the opportunity to thank those kids or their teachers for their help that day. I’ve always wished I could have expressed my appreciation to them and the more than 3,000 special people who helped in many ways to make the cleanup a success. Linda Maraniss, Director, Center for Environmental Education (now Ocean Conservancy) Gulf States Regional Office, State Coordinator, Texas Coastal Cleanup, 1986


C O NT E N T S 1 A Message from Ocean Conservancy’s CEO 2 A Look Back at 30 Years 4 Science: What Do We Know Now? 6 Global Spotlight 8 2015 Global Ocean Trash Index 12 Data Spotlight 14 2015 U.S. Ocean Trash Index 16 Partnerships: Engaging for Outcomes 18 Looking Ahead: Emerging Ocean Trash Science 20 Power of Partnerships: Pathways to Global Action 22 2015 Cleanup Coordinators 24 Acknowledgments

On behalf of Linda Maraniss and Ocean Conservancy staff, past and present, I would like to thank the over 11.5 million volunteers who have made similar journeys to the coast. Thanks to you – the volunteers, site captains, state and county coordinators – the International Coastal Cleanup has become a beacon of hope, leading, motivating and inspiring action in support of our ocean. Over the years, this movement has created a family. A family that spans oceans and country borders. A family that works arm in arm for something bigger than us. For 30 years you have exemplified the extraordinary results we are capable of when people join together. To our global family, we thank you. You are our inspiration. Sincere regards and thanks,


Andreas Merkl Chief Executive Officer Ocean Conservancy