For Immediate Release - September 21, 2009

Patrick Administration Environmental Officials Join Volunteers To Kick-Off Statewide Beach Clean Up

HULL - Armed with gloves and garbage bags, hundreds of Massachusetts residents hit Nantasket Beach on Saturday, Sept. 19 to kick off COASTSWEEP, the annual coastal cleanup program that will deploy thousands of volunteers to help clean up the Commonwealth's beaches this September and October.

"I'm grateful for the thousands of volunteers that come out each year to rid our shores of tons of trash, including items such as plastic bags, straws, and used fishing line that can harm turtles, birds, and other marine wildlife," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles said.

COASTSWEEP is organized by EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) of UMass Boston, and supports cleanups in communities throughout Massachusetts.

Approximately 200 volunteers removed more than 3,220 pounds of trash from Hull area beaches on Saturday. Most of the trash came from land-based sources. Among the debris removed were approximately 3,300 cigarette butts, 640 plastic bottles, and more than 400 plastic bags. In 2008, nearly 3,000 volunteers removed more than 18,000 pounds of trash from coastal areas statewide. Most of the trash came from land-based sources and was carried to the coast by the wind or rain. Among the debris removed from cleanup sites were approximately 4,400 pieces of rope, 5,475 plastic bottles, and 8,336 plastic bags. Cigarette butts were again the most numerous item found, with more than 46,700 collected.

"This event, which has drawn volunteers for 22 years, helps us better understand the sources of marine debris and how to prevent it," said EEA Assistant Secretary of Ocean and Coastal Zone Management Deerin Babb-Brott. "Thank you to all the folks who generously give their time to clean up the beaches and collect information about the types of debris they find."

"The Massachusetts coastline is a treasure and extraordinary volunteer efforts like this one insure it will remain a treasure for generations to come," said Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

This year's COASTSWEEP features scheduled cleanups at more than 100 sites covering the entire coast, including an expanded number of DCR properties.

COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) effort, coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy, and is the largest volunteer effort of its kind. This year's volunteers include school groups, members of the Boy and Girl Scout troops and a large number of Bank of America employees.

"At Bank of America, we recognize that the health of our business is linked to the health and vitality of the communities we serve," said Bob Gallery, Massachusetts President of Bank of America, which is a COASTSWEEP sponsor. "That is why, as part of our 10-year, $20 billion environmental initiative, we are proud to partner with Ocean Conservancy, CZM, and the Urban Harbors Institute on the 2009 Coastsweep event."

"Trash in the ocean is one of the most widespread pollution problems threatening our ocean and waterways, yet it's entirely preventable," says Dianne Sherman, ICC director. "On a single day each year, volunteers from around the world remove debris from beaches and waterways keeping track of every piece of trash they find. Ocean Conservancy uses that information to produce the world's only annual country-by-country, state-by-state breakdown of the problem of marine debris."

Many cleanups are coordinated by local residents who recruit volunteers from their communities. Other cleanups are held as corporate service events or school outings. This year, as part of the Boy Scouts' 100 th anniversary, Boy Scouts from the Old Colony Council will assist with several cleanups on the South Shore.

"The Old Colony Council is proud to be teaming up with CZM and the Urban Harbors Institute to participate in Coastsweep 2009," said Rich Carlson, Vice President of Programs at the Old Colony Council. "As we start a yearlong celebration of the 100 th anniversary of the founding of the Scouting movement in this country, we have challenged all of our Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venture Crew units to give back to their communities by delivering 100 hours of community service."

To find a cleanup near you or to learn how to start your own cleanup call (617)287-5570 or visit www.coastsweep.umb.edu.

COASTSWEEP sponsors include Energy and Environmental Affairs, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Ocean Conservancy, Bank of America, Weston Solutions, Cape Cod Potato Chips, Dunkin' Donuts, and Tronex Brand.

The Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the agency within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs charged with protecting Massachusetts' approximately 1,500-mile coast. Through educational and regulatory programs, CZM seeks to balance human uses of the coastal zone with the need to protect fragile marine resources. The agency's work includes helping coastal communities anticipate and plan for sea level rise and other effects of climate change, working with cities and towns and the federal government to develop boat sewage no-discharge areas, and partnering with communities and other organizations to restore coastal and aquatic habitats.