How You Can Help Clean Up the Coral Reefs

Any waterway that leads to the ocean can carry trash from the mainland out to Coral Reefs. If you live near the coast or a major waterway of any kind, here are a few ways that you can help clean up the coral reefs. Before you participate in any of these clean ups, be sure to download the Marine Debris Tracker App by the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative:

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1. Shore-Based Beach Cleanups

If you live near the coast, with a quick Google search, you can usually find a clean up that is scheduled in your area. If not, you can create your own. The Ocean Conservancy has a great guide to help you start a clean up here:

These are great to organize after a major holiday during the summer. Check out how much trash we collected towards the end of the day on Labor Day 2017:


2. Waterway Clean Ups

A great way to remove debris while enjoying the outdoors and getting a good work out is doing a Waterway Clean Up. All you need to do is get a kayak and remove as much trash as you can. Check out what I found in the New River in Fort Lauderdale, FL:

3. Underwater Reef Cleanups

If you are scuba certified, you can participate in an Underwater Reef Cleanup or Pier Clean Up. There are a few tips before you participate in one of these:

  • Be mindful of your surroundings and stay off of the bottom while working to remove debris from the reef.
  • Use a tool that will allow you to safely remove debris such as fishing line from corals.
  • Do not remove debris that the coral has over grown. Alert an event organizer so that a professional can remove it if it is possible.
  • Always wear gloves that are thick enough to protect you from fishing hooks.
  • Make sure that you are on extra alert since it is easier to lose your dive buddy or forget to check your remaining air when you are working on one of these dives.

Here is a video that has footage from 3 different Pier Clean Ups at the same location:


4. Reduce Your Waste

As you can see from the 3 types of clean ups, unfortunately a lot of trash ends up in our waterways and coral reefs. You can help reduce the overall amount of trash being produced by learning some Zero Waste tips and sharing them with your family and friends. Our Free Zero Waste Cheat Sheet (written by zero waste artist Sarah a.k.a. Gemini Baubles) shows you some really easy ways to reduce your waste as well as save money. Simply fill out the form below and we will email you a copy right away.

Tag us on Social Media so that we can see how much trash you remove and what you find.

See how much trash we have cleaned up and what we found: