Vol­un­teers wanted for In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Bay Views - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups is look­ing for vol­un­teers for the big­gest lo­cal cleanup of the year. KIBCU is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Ocean Con­ser­vancy’s up­com­ing In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup on Satur­day, Sept. 15. Held an­nu­ally on the third Satur­day in Septem­ber, the cleanup is the world’s largest sin­gle-day vol­un­teer ef­fort to re­move trash from lo­cal beaches and water­ways.

“This is our sev­enth year do­ing the Coastal Cleanup,” said Kristin Weed, KIBCU founder. KIBCU has par­tic­i­pated in the ICC ev­ery year since Weed started the lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion, and each year’s cleanup has topped the last.

In the 2017 ef­fort, 239 vol­un­teers turned out to pick up trash at 11 wa­ter­front sites in Queen Anne’s County, log­ging more than 29,000 in­di­vid­ual pieces of trash.

“Hav­ing peo­ple come out and see it changes things,” Weed said. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in an event like the ICC is im­pact­ful, she added. “They go home and look at things dif­fer­ently. It raises aware­ness ….

“The is­sue is us­ing some­thing once and throw­ing it away,” she con­tin­ued. “Ninety to 95 per­cent of what we pick up was only used once by its orig­i­nal owner. Al­most ev­ery­thing you see on that beach was used one time. That’s re­ally sad.”

This year cleanups are planned for 10 sites: Ter­rapin Beach Park; Old Love Point Park; Hem­ing­way’s Restau­rant Beach; Me­ta­peake Beach; Mat­a­peake Fish­ing Pier; Ro­man­coke Land­ing and Pier; Kent Nar­rows Land­ing and Pier; Ferry Point Park; Ben­nett Point Land­ing and Pier; and Cen­tre­ville Land­ing and Pier. With board mem­bers, in­terns and re­turn­ing vol­un­teers signed up as site cap­tains, what is needed now is vol­un­teers — hands to pick up the trash.

The cleanup be­gins at 8 a.m. and runs un­til noon, but vol­un­teers don’t have to com­mit to the en­tire four hours.

“You can come when you want and stay as long as you want,” Weed said.

Vol­un­teers can sign up in ad­vance or just show up on the day of the cleanup. They can choose to work at what­ever site they want. If they have no pref­er­ence, Weed will sug­gest a site that needs more vol­un­teers.

Stu­dents are en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate. It’s a great way for them to earn ser­vice hours, Weed said. How­ever, vol­un­teers un­der age 18 must have a waiver signed by a par­ent or guardian giv­ing them per­mis­sion to par­tic­i­pate. Chil­dren 12 and un­der must be ac­com­pa­nied by an adult or sib­ling over 16. All vol­un­teers must sign a par­tic­i­pa­tion waiver.

KIBCU pro­vides cleanup sup­plies, such as gloves, buck­ets, trash pick­ers and trash bags, but if you have your own sup­plies (like buck­ets or gloves), bring them, Weed said.

Do­na­tions of items, such as gloves and trash bags, are al­ways wel­come, but Weed asks in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses con­tact the group in ad­vance. KIBCU is a cer­ti­fied 501(c)3 non­profit; do­na­tions are taxd­e­ductible.

“We need more trash pick­ers; there’s never enough,” she added. Not ev­ery­one needs a trash picker, but they are good for the el­derly, for any­one who has trou­ble bend­ing and for reach­ing into bushes, she said.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion does not want bot­tled wa­ter. Vol­un­teers should bring their own re­us­able wa­ter bot­tle to fill. KIBCU pro­vides wa­ter to fill your bot­tle, but no longer pro­vides bot­tled wa­ter in ef­fort to re­duce the con­sump­tion of sin­gle-use plas­tic, Weed said. A light snack is also pro­vided.

Vol­un­teers team up and work in groups. They count the trash col­lected.

“We record ev­ery­thing we pick up,” Weed said. Clip­boards and forms are pro­vided; each vol­un­teer uses hash marks to track the trash col­lected. The records be­come part of the Ocean Con­ser­vancy’s Ocean trash in­dex, which is the world’s largest item-by-item, lo­ca­tion-by-lo­ca­tion data­base of trash found along the shore.

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 in 2016, fell to num­ber five in 2017 with 2,208, be­hind foam pieces, 2,345.

Un­usual items found last year in­cluded a cata­ma­ran, a lawn chair, trash cans, a traf­fic cone and a ta­ble.

KIBCU’s event is the largest ICC cleanup on Mary­land’s Eastern Shore.

“Pic­tures and data … are so pow­er­ful. This is stuff we can doc­u­ment to fight for pol­icy changes,” Weed said.

Once ev­ery­thing col­lected dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup is counted, it’s bagged and left for the park rangers to pick up and take to the dump.

“I would love to be able to re­cy­cle it,” Weed said. “One day I would like to be able to sort it for pick up (sep­a­rat­ing the trash and de­bris from re­cy­clables). I would love to have the re­cy­clables re­cy­cled.”

With the flood­gates at the Conowingo Dam be­ing opened last month and widespread me­dia cov­er­age of the large amount of de­bris dumped into the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, Weed said she hope it mo­bi­lizes more peo­ple to come out.

The Ch­e­sa­peake Bay is the largest es­tu­ary in the world, and Weed said she’d like to see a multi-state sum­mit to ad­dress is­sues like the Conowingo Dam de­bris. Mary­land, Penn­syl­va­nia, New York, Vir­ginia, Delaware, West Vir­ginia and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., are all part of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Water­shed.

“No one en­vi­ron­men­tal group of any sort can take this on. It’s too mas­sive. Ev­ery­body needs to do this,” Weed said. “We had a lot of trash on our beaches be­fore this event. We’ve been do­ing this for six and a half years. We have trash all the time.”

But ef­forts like KIBCU’s and the Ocean Con­ser­vancy are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

“The small wins and the small steps re­ally do mat­ter. We just have to be pa­tient,” Weed said. “It’s just a mat­ter o get­ting peo­ple to make one small change …. It can have a big im­pact.”

For more in­for­ma­tion or to sign up, find Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups page on Face­book or go to www.ken­tis­land­beach­cleanups.com.

PHOTO COUR­TESY KRISTIN WEED

Vol­un­teers pick up trash on the beach dur­ing the 2017 In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup.

Plas­tics are deadly to wildlife like seabirds and sea tur­tles.

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