Boston Students and Environmental Officials Participate in Volunteer Beach Clean Up at DCR's Carson Beach
Event celebrates statewide COASTSWEEP program
Now in its 24th year, COASTSWEEP is a volunteer program organized by EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the University of Massachusetts Boston's Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) that employs thousands of volunteers each fall to clean up trash from the Commonwealth's beaches, river banks, marshes and seafloor during the months of September and October.
"Each year thousands of dedicated volunteers do their part to keep our recreational areas clean and protect wildlife habitat by spending a few hours or a whole day removing tons of trash from Massachusetts beaches," said Secretary Sullivan. "I applaud the work of these middle school students and their teachers today at this beautiful urban resource. I hope their example of environmental stewardship inspires others."
During COASTSWEEP clean ups, volunteers also gather and record data about the types of debris they are finding. The data is then analyzed by the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup program and the results are used to better understand the sources of marine debris globally and to develop solutions for prevention. As part of the International Coastal Cleanup, COASTSWEEP participants join hundreds of thousands of other volunteers each year in the world's largest volunteer effort for the ocean.
"Trash and marine debris is a widespread pollution problem and serious threat to our oceans and waterways," said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. "Since much of the trash collected each year comes from litter on our streets, marine pollution is easily preventable. It's great to see so many people come out to COASTSWEEP to be part of the cleanup solution and do their part to encourage others to prevent littering."
"These volunteers deserve our utmost respect and thanks for the work they put into this project, collecting and documenting tons of litter and debris, here at DCR's Carson Beach and dozens of other locations," said Commissioner Lambert. "This is a wonderful, much-appreciated volunteer effort to clean our coastline and DCR is happy to once again partner with CZM on this effort."
The Quincy Upper School has been involved in COASTSWEEP for more than four years, bringing students to Boston's beaches not only to put in a few hours of hard work but also to enjoy the wonderful beaches right in their city and learn about environmental issues and data collection and analysis.
"Many of these students don't get to the beach very often, even though they live so close by," said teacher and cleanup coordinator, Jenny Tsai. "Bringing them out today to participate in an international effort to remove marine debris shows them the kinds of impacts people can have, for better or for worse, on the environment."
COASTSWEEP has welcomed thousands of volunteers to clean the Massachusetts shoreline over the last 23 years. Last year alone, 3,000 COASTSWEEP volunteers removed more than 20,406 pounds of trash-most of which was land-based refuse carried to the shore by wind or rain.
COASTSWEEP 2011 features cleanups throughout September and October at more than 75 sites-with more sites being added-covering the entire coast, including an expanded number of DCR properties. In addition to participating in a COASTSWEEP cleanup, there are several steps citizens can take to prevent trash from becoming marine debris, including securing trash bins, recycling, using reusable shopping bags, and refraining from littering.
COASTSWEEP is always looking for more volunteers and coordinators. To find a cleanup near you or to learn how to start your own cleanup, call (617) 287-5570, visit www.coastsweep.umb.edu, or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/COASTSWEEP.
In addition to EEA, CZM, UHI, and DCR, COASTSWEEP 2011 sponsors include Weston Solutions, RBC Capital Markets, and Bisnar/Chase LLP.
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management is the agency within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs charged with protecting the state's 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.
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