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Volunteer cleaners take a coastal litter inventory

Each year the Ocean Conservancy, based in Washington, organizes an international cleanup day of the world's oceans and waterways. This year the event occurs Sept. 15. In 2006, roughly 360,000 volunteers from 68 countries participated. They not only collected 7 million pounds of debris, they cataloged exactly what they found in oceans, rivers, and lakes. Among other things, the effort yielded discarded fishing gear, rope, bags, and other throwaways responsible for entangling 1,074 animals, only one of which (a 1-year-old seal) was found alive. The most frequently found debris during last year's International Coastal Cleanup, with the number of each item collected:

1. Cigarettes/cigarette filters 1,901,519

2. Food wrappers, containers 768,115

3. Caps, lids 704,085

4. Bags 691,048

5. Beverage bottles (plastic) 570,299

6. Beverage bottles (glass) 420,800

7. Cups, cutlery 353,217

8. Straws, stirrers 349,653

9. Beverage cans 327,494

10. Cigar tips 186,258

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