If the world's beaches are littered with all sorts of debris on a random Saturday in September—and they are—just think what washes up in the surf all the rest of the time.
With its hundreds of miles of coastline, California has been a leader in participation in the annual September clean-up days. But Matt Tinning of the Ocean Conservancy says that behind the growth in the numbers of people joining in lies a less encouraging trend.
The cumulative statistics from the beach clean-up days drive home the point that there is far to much debris going into the world's seas, Tinning says, and that the extent of the problem is continuing to grow. But figures taken from a single day's activities are just not enough to accurately depict the scale of the situation--or how far it reaches.