Plastic Pollution
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17 NGOs Fighting Plastic Pollution

In 2009, the United Nations officially established International Mother Earth Day. Each year, the world celebrates it on April 22nd. In 2018, the central theme for the day will be “End Plastic Pollution.” With tons of plastic that end up in our oceans, rivers, and other waterways, this is an essential topic which requires much attention from the global community. Today, there are hundreds of organizations committed to this theme. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest players working to rid the planet of plastic.

Why Ending Plastic Pollution is Important

Have you heard of the giant islands of plastic forming in our oceans? Did you know that plastic kills thousands of marine animals every year? Are you aware of the fact that plastic can contaminate the food we eat and the water we drink? All these are facts and are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plastic pollution. As a society, we have come to rely heavily on plastic for everything that we do and use. From our car and home to our food and personal hygiene, we use plastic all the time, and this is causing the planet to suffer. This year’s central theme of International Mother Earth Day, End Plastic Pollution, aims to raise the awareness of this issue and promote steadfast action to reduce and eventually eliminate plastic pollution.

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NGOs Fighting Plastic Pollution

Hundreds of NGOs around the world have already realized the detrimental impact of plastic pollution on our world. As such, they are working hard to prevent and eliminate it. While the list below is by no means exhaustive, it can give you an idea of the types of organizations that are working in the area and the actions that they are taking. Please note that the list is presented in alphabetical order. Should you know of any other NGO that should be on this list, please contact us by Twitter @raptimhumtravel.

1. 5 GYRES

Founded by a couple of scientists passionate about ending plastic pollution, 5 GYRES takes on an integrated approach. This NGO combines science, education, and art in order to fight plastic use. One of their flagship programs lends trawls (scientific equipment) to citizen scientists in order to collect data on plastic pollution.

2. Algalita

Leaders in research and education on plastic pollution, Algalita works to develop influencers in the area and impact decision-making. The organization believes that education and knowledge are key to combat plastic pollution. As such, their portfolio of projects includes Trash Trackers for the community, ocean waste monitoring and STEM Workshops and Presentations that teach basic concepts on plastic pollution.

3. Clear Blue Sea

This relatively new, not-for-profit the Clear Blue Sea, is actively working to rid oceans of plastic and repurposing the plastic that they collect. Their innovative solution uses a Floating Robot for Eliminating Debris (FRED). Not only does it clean up debris, but it also uses renewable energy, has a self-preservation mechanism during storms, and can help rescue animals trapped in debris.

4. Earth Day Network

What started as a small network during the first Earth Day, the Earth Day Network now has over 50,000 partners globally. The organization is focused on promotion and awareness, particularly for Earth Day itself. They create important campaigns and materials including this Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit.

5. Friends of the Earth

The goal of Friends of the Earth is to achieve a better and healthier environment by 2030. Part of this effort includes reducing plastic pollution. To this end, the organization promotes #PlasticFreeFriday where followers join efforts to avoid using plastic once per week, and hopefully even more often.

6. Greenpeace

You’ve probably already heard of Greenpeace. This global NGO actively works to promote a wide range of environmental issues. When it comes to plastic, one of their largest campaigns is a global petition to encourage ministerial action against single-use plastic.

7. Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC)

With the main mission to promote the rights of people to clean air, clean water, and a cleaner habitat, the NRDC is a global NGO with nearly 3 million members. They make a strong focus on individual action for environmental preservation including ways to reduce plastic pollution.

8. One Green Planet

An independent online platform, One Green Planet provides readers with information on sustainable, every-day habits. They are the instigators of the #CrushPlastic Movement. This campaign focuses on reducing single-use plastics including shopping bags, coffee cups, water bottles, take-out containers, and straws.

9. Oceana

Established through a collaborative partnership between several foundations, Oceana works to protect our oceans and marine life. Their Non Campaign makes a special effort to clean up oceans, particularly from irresponsible drilling and aquaculture. At the same time, the organization conducts extensive research to promote advocacy on the subject.

10. Plastic Change

Based in Denmark, Plastic Change works on an international scale to raise awareness and implement actions concerning plastic pollution. While they tackle a number of plastic-related issues, one of their latest campaigns is called Beat the Microbead, an app which informs the microplastic content in cosmetics.


Growing out of the efforts of the Santa Aguila Foundation, carries on the mission of educating, advocating, and raising awareness of plastic pollution. One of their main goals is to provide children with a comprehensive, environmentally-friendly curriculum. They do so through articles, reports, and notes that are publicly available free of charge.

12. Plastic Pollution Coalition

Designed for both individuals and organizations, the Plastic Pollution Coalition is a network of partners working together to understand and solve plastic pollution. To contribute, each person can take the 4Rs Pledge to refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic.

13. Plastic Soup Foundation

An advocacy group tackling plastic pollution, the Plastic Soup Foundation works on awareness, education, and solutions. Want to get involved in reducing the use of plastic? This foundation has a great app, My Little Plastic Footprint, which allows users to reduce their plastic footprint.

14. Plastic Oceans

To change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation”—this is the mission that Plastic Oceans ascribes to. To this end, the organization provides educational films, engaging curricula for school children, as well as support to budding entrepreneurs tackling plastic pollution.

15. The Story of Stuff Project

A unique project, The Story of Stuff focuses on the over-consumption in today’s culture. The project began with a documentary revealing the fact that our society owns too much stuff. Stemming from this, the organization is leading campaigns on reducing the use of plastic along with other interesting subjects.

16. Surfrider Foundation

A network of individual enthusiasts, the Surfrider Foundation engages scientists and other experts infeasible solutions to protect the ocean. Their Rise Above Plastic initiative encourages each and every individual to take action by becoming part of local Surfrider Foundation chapters. Additionally, the campaign sets out a number of steps individuals can take to reduce plastic pollution such as refusing single-use plastic items, recycling, and spreading the word.

17. World Wild Fund (WWF)

The WWF is one of the largest global foundations fighting to protect living species and their environments around the world. The organization implements a number of programs for healthier oceans and actively works to raise awareness about plastic and the environment. For example, just last month, they published a report on plastic consumption in the UK.

Want to get to know more NGOs working to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution? Here is a list of 94 NGOs in 39 countries around the world who are part of the coalition that is working to beat the microbeads in cosmetics.

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