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This is a guest blog post from the Office of Coastal Zone Management, written by Claudia Geib.

Have you ever dreamed of searching the shore for pirate treasure? Now’s your chance! Join a coastal scavenger hunt this fall and help clean up your favorite beach during COASTSWEEP, the annual statewide beach cleanup organized by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

This season, you can join other volunteers and become a trash treasure hunter on the shores of Bay State beaches, rivers, and lakes as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Based on the items you collect and count, the Ocean Conservancy will try to figure out where marine debris comes from and how they can reduce it through policy initiatives and public education programs.

Why Join a COASTSWEEP Cleanup?

Cleanups aren’t just a great way to preserve our coasts — they’re also a lot of fun. One of the best parts of COASTSWEEP is discovering the interesting items that wash up on shore. COASTSWEEP’s 2015 cleanup turned up many surprising items, including:""

  • Lawn chairs
  • Toy darts
  • Silly string
  • An IV drip
  • Wallets
  • A headless Barbie doll
  • A message in a bottle

In addition to these weird and wonderful things, each year volunteers help remove thousands of pounds of plastic, metal, glass, and other materials that can be harmful to humans and animals. In 2015 alone, volunteers removed more than 6 tons of trash from 120 sites across the state. COASTSWEEP volunteers are an essential part of protecting the health and safety of the Massachusetts coast — from seabirds to sunbathers, everyone who enjoys the beach benefits from a cleanup.

How Can I Get Involved in COASTSWEEP?

There are a few ways you can help clean up the Massachusetts coast this fall.

  • Become a Volunteer — If you’d like to volunteer to pick up marine debris, check out the list of COASTSWEEP cleanups and sign up for a location near you.
  • Become a Cleanup Coordinator — If you’re looking for a bigger commitment, you can become a cleanup coordinator and host an event at your local beach. CZM provides event information for cleanup coordinators, as well as all the supplies you’ll need, including bags, gloves, data cards, and pencils.

Whether you want to volunteer for a day or become a cleanup coordinator at a beach near you, you can help COASTSWEEP keep Massachusetts beaches beautiful this fall.

Do you know someone who’d be interested in volunteering with COASTSWEEP? Share this post with them so they can get involved.

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