As the COASTSWEEP Intern, I’ve been involved in a lot of the behind-the-scenes work to get supplies, sponsors and spread the word about this event. On September 12, I finally had the opportunity to get to the beach and participate in my first-ever COASTSWEEP cleanup.
The location was Constitution Beach in East Boston and the weather could not have been nicer: temperatures were in the 80s, the sun was warm, and the breeze was cool. The spot is unique because the beach is right next to Logan Airport and you can see planes taking off and landing. I met the coordinator, Pam DiBona, and the other volunteers around 12:30 p.m. for a quick briefing and distribution of trash bags, gloves, data cards, and pencils, and off we went!
Data are collected along with the trash to help identify sources of marine debris.
I was expecting a lot of trash: food wrappers, bottles and cans, plastic utensils, you name it. So you can imagine my surprise when the beach looked relatively clean. There were very few large items to be found- a bottle here, a plastic bag there – but not nearly enough to fill a trash bag. It wasn’t until I looked closer that I realized that there was still a lot of cleaning up to be done. Cigarette butts and small pieces of plastic and glass were literally every few inches across the entire quarter-mile long beach. Our data card quickly filled with tallies next to the available space for cigarette butts. After we cleaned as much as we could in the time we had available, we properly disposed of our bags. While there would always be more trash for the next cleanup (especially those cigarette butts), it’s great to know we did our part that day and I look forward to participating in more COASTSWEEP cleanups this season.
While large items were scarce, small pieces of debris such as cigarette butts and plastics were everywhere.
There’s still plenty of time to become a COASTSWEEP volunteer and still TONS (probably literally!) of trash that needs to be cleaned up. For more information, visit the How to Get Involved in COASTSWEEP page. Once you’ve signed up, get your family, friends, co-workers, or classmates to join. It’s a lot of fun and is for a great cause. I’ll see you out there!
COASTSWEEP would not be possible without help from the many dedicated volunteers that show up each year.
COASTSWEEP is the statewide volunteer beach cleanup organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). COASTSWEEP is also part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which works with communities all around the world to help address marine debris. For more information, see www.mass.gov/czm/coastsweep or become a friend of COASTSWEEP on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/COASTSWEEP and follow COASTSWEEP and marine debris issues on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coastsweep.