The Beaches Are Calling! It's Time for the Annual International Coastal Cleanup!

Posted on August 6, 2023


Here’s a math problem for you: How many volunteers does it take to clean and remove trash from hundreds of beaches and waterways in Martin County in one morning in September?

The answer: thousands! Fortunately for our environment, each year Martin County residents come out in record numbers for the International Coastal Cleanup. This year it’s scheduled for September 16.

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is a worldwide event that brings together massive numbers of volunteers from around the world in a unified effort to remove trash from beaches, parks and waterways – all on the same day.

The result? A cleaner and healthier coastline for people and marine life and an increased awareness of the actions people can take to protect the land and water we love.

The global Coastal Cleanup event has impressive numbers to share: over 35 years, 17 million volunteers have picked up 348 million pounds of litter and marine debris. Last year alone, volunteers collected 1.1 million food wrappers; over a million cigarette butts; over 849,000 plastic bottles, and over 515,000 plastic bags.

That’s good news, right? But the bad news is that the beaches and waterways are once again littered and in need of our help.

Keep Martin Beautiful is the local coordinator for this worldwide event and has already begun recruiting volunteers. You can be part of the action! We have a big list of available coastal and river cleanup sites and lots of supplies for individuals, families, or groups who want to volunteer. We ask that volunteers register in advance and choose a location so we can keep track of our community’s efforts.

As our volunteers collect trash and litter, they are encouraged to download the user-friendly http://CleanSwell™ app. This app makes it easy to track the litter that’s collected and then share it to a global database used by scientists at the Ocean Conservancy to analyze patterns across the world.

What Volunteers Need to Know

  • The coastal cleanup targets beaches, waterways, and parks throughout Martin County.
  • Pre-registration is required to ensure volunteers are assigned to areas most in need.
  • Volunteers should wear protective clothing and closed toe shoes.
  • Participants will be provided with cleanup supplies and a T-shirt (while supplies last).
  • A unique data-gathering feature of this cleanup records every piece of litter collected. Volunteers can download the Clean Swell® App or request paper data cards through preregistration.

The International Coastal Cleanup is also a great way for businesses and organizations to show their support of environmental stewardship in Martin County by becoming a sponsor. Sponsors receive significant exposure through our social media platforms, digital marketing and promotion of the event, as well as inclusion of their logo on volunteer T-shirts.

For more info on how to be a part of this “think global, act local” event, go to


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