I live in Florida. Even though I actually live in the middle of the state, a beach is no more than an hour away in either direction. This has helped me become all the more aware of how important not only the beaches are for every aspect of life (from relaxation to the economy), but also how important the ocean itself is.
Without wading too deep into the topic, the reality is that human beings have poured more damaging pollution into the ocean and into "landfills" in the last 50 years than in the last million years combined. I remember quite vividly being taught in schools that all this was totally normal. (i.e. the garbage man comes by, collects the garbage, then drives it to the landfill. And that's just where it goes. Out of sight. Out of mind). In fact, I will only speak for myself here, but I long had the impression that in time it all just disintegrated back into the earth at some point. But not surprisingly, it doesn't. The millions of tons plastic and chemicals and garbage that is "thrown away" each day don't actually go "away" at all. It's just that the world, especially the ocean, is so big that it only seemed that way for a few years.
The point is, we as a world are well past the point of needing to be aware of this. I fully support groups like 4 Ocean who are not only invaluable for increasing awareness, but their entire business model revolves around battling the mounting the problem.
All of this trash was picked up by hand in just a few hours from what many would consider an otherwise pristine stretch of beach in St. Petersburg, Florida. One of the key things that the 4 Ocean crew does is separate the collected materials, and makes sure that as much as possible is recycled. The collection of the trash does more than just keep the beach nice to look at. It makes sure it doesn't get eaten by the animals or make it's way into the ocean, where it often gets eaten by the marine life.
Of course, beach clean ups are just the tip of the ice burg of what needs done. Literally thousands of tons of garbage is dumped into the ocean every single year, and there's no way to pick it all up. To me though, the biggest value of companies like 4 Ocean is the way they are able to educate the general public on a worldwide problem that is very close to burying us all.