Coastal Cleanup is Coastweek's main event, offering Mainers an opportunity to protect our valuable coastline. The largest single volunteer event in the state, Coastal Cleanup involves people of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteers meet at a specified site, pick up trash, and record the type and amount of debris found. Not only does the coast get tidied up, but the data reported helps experts to pinpoint the sources of marine debris and devise solutions.
See the Ocean Conservancy's 2009 report, A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris and What We Can Do About It (PDF)-- a report summarizing the 2008 international coastal cleanup, the impact of marine debrise, and the OC's key findings and recommendations (PDF 3.6M - low resolution).
Why Do We Care?
We all know how irritating it can be to visit a beach and find it covered in trash and other debris, which can also foul boat propellers and clog engines.
Where Does It Come From?
The debris that winds up on our shores comes from many sources. Cigarette butts continue to be number one on our dirty dozen list. Some of these and other pieces of debris are the result of careless beach goers, boaters, fishing vessels, and ships. But another portion of it is washed from roads, yards, and parking lots into storm drains, streams, and rivers which then flow to the sea. The uses our data to help identify the sources of marine debris and to find solutions for this ugly and dangerous garbage. Results from 1996-2000 are available in PDF format:
Make Every Day a Coastal Cleanup ...
Here are some suggestions to help reduce coastal debris:
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers;
- Buy items made from recycled materials with little or no packaging;
- Recycle when possible - many items picked up during Coastal Cleanup are recyclable;
- Use your own cup - avoid foam plastic cups which pose a serious hazard to marine life;
- Substitute paper, cloth, and other recyclable materials for plastic bags (wrap sandwiches in waxed paper).
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Last updated on March 6, 2014