Volunteers Hit the Beach for 2014 International Coastal Cleanup Day

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

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We tend to think of the beach as an unspoiled paradise with miles of white sand, palm trees and turquoise waters. But what if you added 2 million cigarette butts and 1.6 million food wrappers into that picture?

The sad reality is that across the globe, many of our most gorgeous beaches have turned into repositories for garbage, whether washed up or left behind by visitors.

But there is some hope. On Saturday, volunteers around the globe will flock to the shore for International Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual call-to-action for people to help tidy up summer hotspots after the busy tourism season is over.

And the sheer amount of trash that volunteers can collect during these annual “spring cleans” is staggering…

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International Coastal Clean Up, Ocean Conservancy