The world's oceans are vast, but even they have become filled with the detritus of human consumerism. A depressing report from the Ocean Conservancy reveals all the strange and foreign objects that have washed up along coastlines and been picked up by volunteers in the past year.
The data comes via the International Coastal Cleanup, which the Ocean Conservancy has organized since 1986. It began in Texas, but now mobilizes hundreds of thousands of volunteers in more than 100 countries to remove trash from local beaches, waterways, and parks. Volunteers log their finds in an online database, which helps to paint a more comprehensive picture of what people are throwing away.
The following infographics reveal interesting lifestyle habits that should prompt introspection. Many of these items are unnecessary, or their purposes could be served by reusable goods. Others could be redesigned for better reuse, recycling, or biodegradability. Some are indicative of a serious need to upgrade infrastructure, such as sewers.
They offer a clear and distressing reminder that all rivers lead to the sea. Just because something has disappeared from sight does not mean that it's gone. Be careful with the things you buy, and be careful with how you dispose of them. In the words of Gary Knell, writing for National Geographic in 2017:
"The ocean is powerful, but not invincible. It is rich, but not inexhaustible. For humans to thrive in the coming centuries, we will have to be smarter about how we approach the 70 percent of our planet the ocean covers."
Click the right arrow to view the first infographic.