Coastal Cleanup toasts 30th anniversary

DOVER — Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin joined Delaware Coastal Cleanup site captains, Cleanup volunteers, and supporters Friday for the event’s 30th anniversary celebration hosted by the Bayshore community of Slaughter Beach.

The 2017 Coastal Cleanup will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 45 sites statewide, with volunteer registration now open at Delaware Coastal Cleanup webpage.

“Over the past 30 years, through public awareness programs like the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, we have made great progress in reducing the amount of trash on our beaches, waterways, and in our waterways and wetlands,” said Secretary Garvin. “However, our work is not done. Coastal Cleanup shows us how much trash is still negatively impacting our beaches. Everyone can do their part by using trash cans and recycle bins to keep our natural resources clean.”

Some facts about the Delaware Coastal Cleanup:

•Last year, nearly 1,600 volunteers collected 12,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from 45 sites along more than 75 miles of Delaware’s coastline, waterways, wetlands, and watershed areas from Wilmington to Fenwick Island.

From left, Rep. Charles Postles, Slaughter Beach Mayor Harry Ward, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Rep. Harvey Kenton pick up trash during Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup 30th Anniversary party in Slaughter Beach on Friday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

•Delaware’s first Coastal Cleanup – originally known as “Get the Drift and Bag It” – was organized by DNREC and held in October 1987.

•According to 30 years of statistics from DNREC and Ocean Conservancy records, nearly 52,000 volunteers have collected more than 600,000 pounds of trash.

•Among the more unusual finds over the years: a wedding dress, lawn mower, vampaire teeth, an iron blast furnace, bowling ball, ice skates, an exercise bike, a bathtub, power drill, wigs, appliances including a refrigerator, stove, VCRs, TVs and microwaves, and car parts including bumpers, engines, and thousands of tires.

From left, Rep. Charles Postles, Slaughter Beach Mayor Harry Ward, Rep. Harvey Kenton and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin pick up trash during Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup 30th Anniversary party in Slaughter Beach on Friday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

•Finds notable for their numbers: cigarette butts, plastic bags, and food-related trash – including beverage containers, wrappers, straws, and bottle caps – are among the most common items found.

•Good news: Statistics over the years show both an overall downward trend in the amount of trash collected, as well as declines in specific items that taint Delaware’s waterways.

DNREC’s largest one-day volunteer event of the year spans the First State’s eastern coastline and includes Delaware River and Bay and Atlantic Ocean shorelines as well as wetland and watershed areas.

Preregistration is strongly encouraged to ensure enough supplies are packed for each site. Preregistration will close Friday, Sept. 1. For more information about the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, please call Joanna Wilson, Delaware Coastal Cleanup coordinator, at 302-739-9902, or email Joanna.wilson@state.de.us.

The Delaware Coastal Cleanup is sponsored by DNREC, which organizes the event, recruits volunteers, distributes supplies, ensures trash removal and tabulates all data collected. Co-sponsors are Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing, which provides gloves, and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables. The Ocean Conservancy supplies trash bags, data cards, and brochures on marine debris. Additional sponsors this year are Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Redners Markets.

Kelly Quinn cuts the anniversary cake during Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup 30th Anniversary party in Slaughter Beach on Friday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Delaware’s Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines and lakes by volunteers. People all over the world help rid the environment of marine debris and collect detailed information on the types and quantities of refuse they find. This information is recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles data for all of the cleanups to help identify debris sources and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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