State seeks volunteers to help clean up coastline

 

DOVER –– With Delaware’s 30th annual Coastal Cleanup just around the corner the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is seeking volunteers to help tidy up Delaware’s 97-mile-long coastline.

“With Delaware’s annual Coastal Cleanup, we know we are making a difference. Not only are we cleaning up trash from our beaches, waterways and watershed areas, we are raising public awareness about trash disposal and recycling,” said DNREC Secretary David Small.

Last year, 1,492 volunteers collected 7.8 tons of trash at 50 sites along the ocean, the bay, wetlands and watersheds from Wilmington to Fenwick Island.

DNREC provides plastic bags for volunteers to separate the trash and debris into trash or recycle. Glass, plastic and aluminum items collected in good condition are all recycled from the clean up.

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.

In 2015 alone, more than 791,000 volunteers participated and more than 18 millions pounds of trash was collected along 25,188 miles of coastline.

All participating locations record the types and quantities of trash collected and forward the data to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information from cleanups around the world. The collective data helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it.

Unfortunately, data collected from recent reports found that general-source marine debris –– trash that comes from both ocean and land-based activities –– increases across the United States by more than five percent each year.

The most common type of trash collected are plastic products including straws, beverage containers, bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic bags and cigarette butts.

The Ocean Conservancy estimates that if marine debris keeps up at the current rate that plastic will be consumed by 99 percent of sea birds by 2050. It’s currently estimated that more than 50 percent of sea turtles have ingested plastic.

Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup is from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 17. Sign up online at dnrec.delaware.gov. The deadline to register is Sept. 5. Rain date for the cleanup is Sept. 24.

Trash bags will be provided by DNREC and volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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