We’d like to say a HUGE thank you to all who joined us for World Cleanup Day 2020!

On Saturday 19th September, we invited our entire eXXpedition community to join World Cleanup Day, organized by Let’s Do It World, to help inspire the rest of the world to make shifts in their lives, communities, businesses and wider world.

World Cleanup Day is the biggest movement of its kind, seeing 21 million volunteers from 180 countries across the world take to their local areas to pick up litter last year. This year, from our community, 43 participants registered to take part in the remote clean-up from nine different countries across the globe.

Infographic on World Cleanup Day eXXpedition participants

Recording their litter on the Marine Debris Tracker App, almost 7000 pieces of plastic debris were picked up collectively by our community, with food plastic, tobacco items, fishing gear and plastic fragments amongst the most commonly picked up kinds of debris. The Marine Debris Tracker mobile app, originating in 2010, is a joint initiative between the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative, is run out of the University of Georgia College of Engineering and allows users to contribute to local and international plastic litter data collection, by logging when they find trash along our coastlines and waterways. We also use the Marine Debris Tracker for our CAPLite surveys on land during our voyages, in partnership with the University of Georgia.

Many single use plastic items, personal care products and household items were also picked up during the cleanup, including flip flops, items of clothing, plastic cups, grocery bags, plastic bottles, plastic cups, straws and toothbrushes. The most amount of plastic recorded was in Australia, with 5002 pieces being collected, followed by Spain, 1326, France 356, UK 188 and USA 100. You can read more about our our future crewmember Alison Foley’s cigarette butt reduction initiative report here.

Infographic showing items collected by eXXpedition participants

Here is some of our incredibly community taking part on World Cleanup Day:

Though it’s been incredible to see our community heading out into the world to create change through cleanups, finding such a diverse range of plastic, from everyday household items to a prolific amount of fragments, highlights the need to tackle further the plastics issue further upstream too. From simple consumer choices, to more complex industry actions, there are important ways to create long term change, that must begin further upstream. Explore how you can start to create change today at SHiFT.how.