Septem­ber Coastal Cleanup is largest to date

Vol­un­teers pick up more than 29,000 pieces of trash

Sunday Star - - LOCAL - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­

STEVENSVILLE — Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups founder Kristin Weed said the lo­cal ef­fort dur­ing the Ocean Con­ser­vancy’s 32nd In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 16 was the big­gest and most suc­cess­ful yet.

The cleanup is the world’s largest sin­gle-day vol­un­teer ef­fort to re­move trash from lo­cal beaches and wa­ter ways.

“We had great weather. We had a tremen­dous turnout,” Weed said. “It was crazy. I’m so happy.”

A to­tal of 239 vol­un­teers turned out to pick up trash at 11 wa­ter­front sites in Queen Anne’s County: Ter­rapin Park, Old Love Point Park, Hem­ing­way’s Beach, Me­ta­peake Beach and Fish­ing Pier, Ro­man­coke Land­ing, Kent Nar­rows Land­ing, Ferry Point Park, Ben­nett Point Land­ing, Cen­tre­ville Land­ing, the fish­ing area and park­ing lot be­tween the Jetty and Bridges restau­rants, and Clover­fields Beach, which was added the day of the event, Weed said.

All the sites had a good turnout, she said, “even Cen­tre­ville, (where) we don’t have a huge pres­cence, but peo­ple came out.”

The other new site this year was Mat­a­peake, which could be­come two sites in the fu­ture — the beach and the pier, Weed said.

Mat­a­peake was eye open­ing for vol­un­teers, be­ing lo­cated right on the Bay, she said.

“When peo­ple are out here, get­ting their hands dirty, see­ing all this garbage with their own eyes, touch­ing it, that’s when they’re im­pacted the most,” Weed said. “And as much as we would like to pick up less trash, we have a long way to go to get to that point, if ever.

“More vol­un­teers means we are go­ing to pick up more trash, so our num­bers won’t go down, at least not now. Whether peo­ple want to ad­mit it or not, this county has a real trash prob­lem. My vol­un­teers, neigh­bors and friends tell me about how they see peo­ple throw­ing trash out of their car win­dows all of the time. Peo­ple toss cig­a­rettes out of their cars, and it’s so­cially ac­cepted, and that is garbage, too. It’s not just pol­lu­tion at the beaches that trash even­tu­ally makes its way to the wa­ter.

“So our ef­forts and the ef­forts of our vol­un­teers will al­ways be needed un­til peo­ple stop pol­lut­ing. My hope is peo­ple de­velop a sense of aware­ness, and it’s a learn­ing mo­ment.”

The KIBCU vol­un­teers were among hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple who par­tic­i­pated world­wide.

Of the 239 lo­cal vol­un­teers, 156 of them were stu­dents, Weed said. The en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence class from Arch­bishop Spald­ing High School was back; its teacher Christina Mohs was site cap­tain at Kent Nar­rows. There were Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety stu­dents from South­ern High School, the Oceans Club at the Naval Academy, a church group and more. The cleanup at Clover­fields was done by Kent Is­land High School stu­dent So­phie Solomon and her mom, Laney.

“All three in­terns re­ally helped at all the lo­ca­tions,” Weed said.

The cleanup of­fi­cially ran from 8 a.m. to noon, and vol­un­teers picked up and logged more than 29,000 in­di­vid­ual pieces of trash.

“We com­pletely lost count of ac­tual weight in trash, as we had sev­eral items that were not in trash bags, and trash bag count was also lost this year. We can imag­ine it is more than last year, ob­vi­ously,” Weed said. “The more peo­ple you have, the more trash you col­lect.”

The largest item found this year was a ditched cata­ma­ran at Ter­rapin. As it was too big to be “col­lected,” vol­un­teers just doc­u­mented it and KIBCU no­ti­fied the parks depart­ment that it needed re­moved.

“We also found a lot of clothes, more this year than ever,” Weed said.

Other unique items in­cluded a lawn chair, a cou­ple trash cans, a traf­fic cone and a ta­ble.

Fish­ing line con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem; peo­ple aren’t us­ing the dis­posal con­tain­ers, she said. Vol­un­teers picked up more than 1,000 pieces of line and nearly 1,000 pieces of fish­ing net.

Vol­un­teers also found ev­i­dence of drink­ing and drug use at the beaches.

“Cen­tre­ville Land­ing had over 90 small liquor bot­tles just sit­ting around,” Weed said.

And at Mat­a­peake Pier, they found drug para­pher­na­lia — a glass bong.

The top three items re­cov­ered dur­ing the 2017 ICC by KIBCU teams were plas­tic pieces, 5,352; cigarete butts, 4,681; and glass pieces, 4,155. Food wrap­pers, which topped the list last year, fell to num­ber five this year with 2,208, be­hind foam pieces, 2,345.

Record­ing and sort­ing their finds helps raise aware­ness of the trash prob­lem.

“I re­ally want this to be an eye­open­ing, learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” Weed said. “Peo­ple are im­pacted when they see it lay­ing all out.

“Some of th­ese items are older than me and my board.”

Ev­ery year, mil­lions of tons of trash — in­clud­ing an es­ti­mated 8 mil­lion met­ric tons of plas­tic waste — flow into the ocean, en­tan­gling wildlife, pol­lut­ing beaches and cost­ing coastal com­mu­ni­ties hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, ac­cord­ing to the Ocean Conser vancy.

Cig­a­rette butts, plas­tic bev­er­age bot­tles, food wrap­pers, plas­tic bot­tle caps and plas­tic straws are among the most com­monly col­lected items world­wide. They are also among the most deadly to wildlife like seabirds and sea tur­tles. Plas­tics — which never fully biode­grade but rather break up into smaller and smaller pieces called mi­croplas­tics — are of par­tic­u­lar con­cern.

Since the first ICC over 30 years ago, more than 12 mil­lion vol­un­teers have re­moved more than 220 mil­lion pounds of trash, ac­cord­ing to the Ocean Con­ser­vancy.

Ocean Con­ser­vancy is con­sol­i­dat­ing data sent in from part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions around the globe and will re­lease a re­port in early 2018 of the global im­pact of the 2017 ICC. Dur­ing the 2016 ICC, more than 500,000 vol­un­teers world­wide re­moved more than 18 mil­lion pounds of trash.

Among things learned for next year, KIBCU could use two site cap­tains per lo­ca­tion — “and I need three of me,” Weed said with a laugh.

“My board mem­ber, Bill Key, and I spent the day driv­ing be­tween the sites, hand­ing out more sup­plies, snacks, wa­ter, tak­ing pic­tures, greet­ing vol­un­teers, etc.,” she said.

KIBCU pro­vides gloves, trash bags, rakes, trash pick­ers, buck­ets, snacks and wa­ter.

Vol­un­teers should bring their own re­us­able wa­ter bot­tle to fill. Vol­un­teers un­der age 18 must have a waiver signed by a par­ent or guardian giv­ing them per­mis­sion to par­tic­i­pate.

All vol­un­teers must sign a par­tic­i­pa­tion waiver.

Any­one in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing can con­tact Weed by call­ing 410-458-1240 or email­ing kristin@ ken­tis­land­beach­, or they may con­tact her through KI Beach Cleanups’ web­site, www. ken­tis­land­beach­, or on the group’s Face­book page.

Se­niors from South­ern High School off Solomons Is­land Road par­tic­i­pate in the cleanup, in­clud­ing a lo­cal res­i­dent who got his Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety friends to join him.

An ex­am­ple of all of the plas­tics Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups col­lects, all of which could and should have been re­cy­cled or reused by its orig­i­nal owner.


The largest piece of de­bris found by Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups this year. Too big for them to pick up, they no­ti­fied park rangers to see to the aban­doned craft’s re­moval.

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