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Photograph a Dirty Beach, Win $5,000 to Clean It Up

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Calling all beach-lovers: Your photo could help clean up our coasts. California-based Save the Waves Coalition is hosting the first global Dirty Wave Challenge and including a $5,000 grand prize.

Many of the world’s best surf spots — including Killer Dana, Petcalco, and La Barre — have disappeared forever due to impacts from industrial pollution, runoff, and barred access to beaches. The Save the Waves Coalition relies on public engagement and activism to pinpoint threatened beaches.

The lack of substantial data on coastal threats is one of the biggest problems in combating them. But with the mindset of “think globally, act locally,” STW’s Dirty Wave Challenge can help fill these gaps in data and encourage real-time action.

The Dirty Wave Challenge contest is designed to increase coastal stewardship and locate polluted marine ecosystems. Users can submit their entries on the Endangered Waves App through Dec. 20.

Many beloved beaches are being inundated with trash; photo by Nikki Brooks

How to Win

To enter the Dirty Wave Challenge, download the Endangered Waves App. Take a photo of a littered coastal area and submit it under the “Dirty Wave Challenge” category.

Be sure to select your threat category, write a brief description, and tag your location. This first challenge focuses on marine debris and plastic pollution, but other coastal threats include erosion and access issues.

Your entry photo should include a common item for scale, such as your hand or a surfboard. Although the contest only allows one entry per challenge, the guidelines suggest taking multiple photos of your location to help validate the entry.

The winning photo will best capture the dirtiest and trashiest surf ecosystem. The winner will receive a $5,000 day of stewardship with STW to help clean up their beach along with a cash prize. You can learn more about the contest terms and conditions on the official website.

Beyond the Contest

STW will use the collected photos and data to better address coastal threats, educate users, and encourage conservation practices around the world. The goal of the Dirty Wave Challenge is to transform everyday citizens into empowered coastal stewards.

Launched in 2018, the Endangered Waves App helps monitor the world’s coastlines and surf ecosystems. It won best conservation mobile app in the HeroX competition by XPrize. The app is currently available for download on iOS and Android devices.

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