Student leaves college to drive ‘Save the Wave’ bus, clean beaches


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A 21-year-old from Pennsylvania dropped out of college to drive across the United States to clean up the ocean and raise awareness about pollution.

Joshua Snell, 21, left his hometown of Scranton, PA to drive his “Save the Wave” bus to raise money for the Ocean Conservancy and clean up the US coastline.

“Our oceans are full of plastic,” Snell said. “I’m trying to raise $1 million for the Ocean Conservancy.”

Snell and his friend Alex Major plan to drive the entire United States coastline.

“From Portland, Maine, all the way down the coast to Florida, wrap around Florida to Texas and then, go all the way up the west coast and eventually end in Washington state,” Snell said.

It is a big goal that started much smaller when he was in college for digital media.

“I started seeing post after post about this growing problem plastic pollution. I wanted to do something about it,” Snell said.

Snell started selling t-shirts and sweatshirts.

“I made 100 samples of my hoodie “Save the Wave,” Snell said. “They sold out in less than a week.”

After some research, Snell realized he was part of the problem.

“Polyester and acrylic clothing essentially shed thousands of tiny plastic fibers every time you wash them that go into our oceans, so I knew printing on shirts and selling them wouldn’t be beneficial to raising awareness for plastic pollution,” Snell said.

The mission got bigger.

“I went to the thrift store every Wednesday and bought every piece of clean undamaged plain t-shirts and sweatshirts I could find. I ended up getting 1,500,” Snell said.

Fifteen hundreds shirts turned into a $1600 bus.

“I started looking for like a vehicle to move my clothes and my idea and I could go around to every beach town and do beach clean ups,” Snell said.

With a little paint and a very big goal his idea became a reality. On July 15, the save the wave bus hit the road in Maine with a $1 million dollar goal.

“I started a GoFundMe for the ocean conservancy, so it’s directly linked, so I have no access to that GoFundMe at all.”

When Snell got to the Cape Fear, he reached his first milestone.

“$10,000 in donations for the Ocean Conservancy,” Snell said.

To celebrate, he picked up 10,000 cigarettes at the beaches in the cape fear. He said he picked up 2,000 in Surf City and 8,000 in Wrightsville Beach.

These butts will not be sitting in the trash.

“I’m donating to my friends at the cigarette surf board,” Snell said. “They makes surf boards out of cigarettes.”

It is all part of one mission to “save the wave.”

“Humans are affecting nature. It’s going to be out of control soon if we don’t do something about it,” Snell said.

Snell is planning a beach clean up in Wrightsville Beach on Tuesday. A time has not been set yet. He said he will be in the Cape Fear until Thanksgiving. He plans to be at the Florida Georgia line by Christmas.

Visit here if you want to donate to the ocean conservancy and follow Snell’s journey on social media.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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