Learn how to report plastic pollution using your phone 

The impacts of plastic pollution 

According to the United Nations “plastic waste makes up 80% of all marine pollution and around 8 to 10 million metric tons(about the same weight as 2 of the great pyramids in Egypt) of plastic end up in the ocean each year”. There are currently about 50-75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastics in the ocean. By 2050, plastic will likely outweigh all fish in the sea. Plastic pollution is extremely harmful to marine life and ecosystems. Large pieces, like bags or fishing lines, can entangle and suffocate marine life, while smaller microplastics are ingested by marine animals which can cause internal injuries and suffocation.

This Plastic-Free July, learn how surfers can reduce their plastic consumption and report plastic pollution at your local surf spot.

How you can help track plastic pollution using your phone

From plastic packaging to micro plastics and fishing gear, plastic pollution comes in all shapes and sizes. And even the smallest forms have devastating consequences surf ecosystems.

At Save The Waves, we need your help to better track issues as they happen in real-time. 

Through our Save The Waves App, you can immediately report plastic pollution: take a photo, select the kind of plastic pollution and geotag your location.

How does this help? Data collected from surfers, beach-goers, and citizen scientists (like you!) give us and our local partners a better understanding of issues facing our coastlines – and a better chance at solving those coastal threats. We respond to your reports through our local partners and share the data with organizations and researchers to better map and understand the flow of plastic around the globe.

Reporting plastic pollution that you cleaned up on your own or at an organized beach clean-up is also helpful data for us and our partners.

The difference between plastic packaging and microplastics 

Plastic Packaging

Single-use plastic such as bags, wrappers, straws, utensils, styrofoam, etc.


Microplastics are small plastic pieces broken up from larger pieces. They are less than 5 millimeters (⅕ inches) in diameter. For reference, the eraser at the end of a pencil is about 5mm in diameter so any piece of plastic you find that’s smaller than a pencil eraser is microplastic. Microplastics can be found on beaches and floating on and below the surface of the ocean.

How Surfers Can Reduce Their Plastic Consumption 

By now, most surfers are conscious of avoiding single-use plastic bags and food containers.  Using reusable water bottles like ones made by Klean Kanteen is an easy place to start. But we can also choose surf accessories and equipment that use less plastic.

Next time you are at a surf shop to buy a bar of wax a leash, or a traction pad opt for products that aren’t packaged in plastic.

In addition to avoiding products that are packaged in single-use plastics, you can choose products that are made out of construction that use plastic alternatives. Pick wax not made from petrolium, traction pads not made from petroleum, or fins and surfboards that use eco resins and recycled foam.

Eco-friendly surf wax from our friends Kassia and Firewire traction made from algae

Data Partner Highlight: Till the Coast is Clear 

Till the Coast is Clear is a Community Interest Company from South Devon UK striving to make the world a better place – one piece of plastic and one happy soul at a time. They regenerate places and people by clearing shorelines of plastic pollution using special recyclable boats and a fleet of kayaks made from recycled fishing nets, all crewed by volunteers, from all walks of life.

Till the Coast is Clear uses the Save The Waves App to identify coastal pollution in the South Devon area for future cleanups.

Find out more at www.tillthecoastisclear.co.uk/

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