CZ-Tip - Help Clean Up Massachusetts Shores at COASTSWEEP
Refrigerators, washing machines, charcoal grills, toilet bowls, rubber boots, truck tires, construction debris, milk crates, vinyl siding, and thousands of cigarette butts—these are some of the items found each year during COASTSWEEP, the Massachsuetts statewide coastal cleanup cleanup started in 1987. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and coordinated by the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston (UHI), COASTSWEEP calls to thousands of volunteers each year to come out and clean up the Commonwealth's coast. Please be one of them!
COASTSWEEP is part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), which is held worldwide each September to raise awareness of marine debris and clean beaches. Through ICC, hundreds of thousands of dedicated volunteers remove trash from beaches, lakes, and streams across the globe. These volunteers collect data on the specific types of debris they find, which allows the Ocean Conservancy to help determine the behaviors that cause the debris.
Marine Debris - Impacts and Prevention
- About the Cleanup - For more information about this effort, see the ICC website.
- Latest Updates - Photos, the most recent cleanup data, and news releases about the ICC are available through the Ocean Conservancy's News Room.
Trash and discarded materials that end up in the sea or on the shore are more than an eye sore. Marine life can mistake things like plastic bags, pellets, and balloons for food or become engangled in fishing line, nets, and six-pack holders. Plastic bags can clog boat-engine intakes, causing overheating and expensive repairs, and fishing line can get wrapped around propellers. Broken glass or metal cans can cut barefoot beachgoers. The solution to this pollution is prevention.
Oceans Awash with Debris
- Everyday Tips - Trash is an on-going, year-round problem. The Ocean Conservancy's 10 Things You Can Do to Stop Marine Debris provides tips for preventing marine debris all year long.
- Don't Litter! - Litter on the ground becomes litter in our oceans. You can help by placing your trash into proper receptacles. If none are available, take trash home. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean, onto the ground, or into a storm drain. Take advantage of shoreside recycling containers. For more on stopping litter, see the Keep America Beautiful Litter Prevention web page.
- Marine Debris Program - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Debris Program website provides information on marine debris, including details on plastics in the oceans, ongoing research, and grants opportunities.
Marine debris that does not wash up on shore can collect in certain areas of the world's oceans called gyres--large systems of rotating ocean currents. There are five primary gyres found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans--and they all are known to accumulate floating debris.
Join a Cleanup
- Pacific Garbage Patch - The Pacific Garbage Patch: Myths & Realities web page from the Ocean Conservancy discusses the Pacific Garbage Patch, the popular name given to the trash that has accumulated in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.
- Atlantic Garbage Patch - The Sea Education Association (SEA) has been studying the North Atlantic debris field for the past 25 years. Their Plastics at SEA pages describe their work in both the Atlantic and Pacific.
- Plastic Pollution Education - The 5 Gyres website provides users with an understanding of plastic marine pollution through exploration, education, and action.
With more than 1,500 miles of Massachusetts shoreline to clean, COASTSWEEP could use your help. Join a cleanup as a volunteer, local coordinator, or sponsor. COASTSWEEP cleanups occur throughout September and October each year and CZM and UHI provide the free supplies and support for all those involved.
- Get Involved - Organize or volunteer at a COASTSWEEP cleanup at your local beach, riverfront, lakeshore, marina, or marsh and be part of this state-wide effort to remove marine debris from our shores. See the COASTSWEEP website or check out COASTSWEEP on Facebook.
- 20+ Years (and Counting) - CZM's 2008 Coastlines magazine provides more details about COASTSWEEP. See COASTSWEEP: 20+ Years of Cleaner Beaches.