Global Plastic Cleanup:

Oceans of hope, not plastic

The A Rocha family is committed to seeing our oceans be places of hope, not plastic.

Our project on marine plastics helps people understand the extent of plastic pollution, and provides resources to help be part of the solution, including:

Get involved in a beach cleanup!

If you don’t live by the seaside, clean up a river, lake, street, park or vacant lot in your town and keep that litter from ever getting into the ocean. It all helps A Rocha begin to quantify its contribution to the global effort as well as helping researchers to better understand the issue. We recommend using the methodology suggested at the International Coastal Cleanup site by The Ocean Conservancy. Download the Clean Swell app and document the trash you collect – this can be used any time of the year if you regularly clean plastic. Our downloadable beach cleanup guide will help.

The act of cleaning the beach is an end in and of itself – we are caring for God’s beaches, ocean and waterways. Other benefits:

  • Beach cleans can also be a great event to invite new people to, Christian or otherwise.
  • There is significant publicity that can be attached to these events, both traditional media and social media.
    It can be combined with citizen science research on nurdles.
  • While billed as the ‘coastal’ cleanup, these events can easily be extended to rivers and lakes.
  • Theology resources in the Plastics Toolbox have been used to start events with prayer, with meditations during the day. These can provide a great way to connect the event to faith.
A Rocha South Africa river cleanup in 2017

A Rocha’s coastal cleanups

A Rocha holds cleanup events in many countries and participates in others organized by local partners. For example,

  • In Kenya, the A Rocha Kenya team leads beach cleanups every Friday and has also conducted the first survey of microplastic pollution for this national park.
  • In Portugal, A Rocha has been monitoring microplastics on the Algarve coast since 2017. Nurdle hunts are being used to examine microplastics in Portugal, Kenya and USA.
  • In the Whaingaroa area of New Zealand, A Rocha contributes to litter debris surveys, using The Sustainable Coastlines – Litter Intelligence: Citizen Science & Education Programme, where one large transect is measured from the waterline to the backshore. Launched in May 2018, the programme is funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund and works in close collaboration with Statistics New Zealand and the Department of Conservation. We also use The Whaingaroa citizen science litter project to practically engage the community and raise awareness. Debris counts, weights, and categories are recorded based on protocols from the United Nations Environment Programme and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
  • In Southern California, USA, A Rocha run regular nurdle hunts and monthly sand sampling for microplastics at Crystal Cove State Park.

A Rocha’s global family is making its contribution to removing plastic from God’s beautiful world. Join us!

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Dave Bookless

Director of Churches and Theology

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