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2020 COASTSWEEP Cleanup Summary

Find an overview of the 2020 beach cleanup organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

Each year, CZM compiles data on the COASTSWEEP beach cleanups held throughout the state. The most recent information available is from the 2020 cleanup, which is provided below. Please note that COVID-19 precautions significantly affected the volunteer turnout for this year. See COASTSWEEP - Summaries of Annual Cleanups for other years. For a full list of the information available on the COASTSWEEP website, see Overview and Index.

2020 Stats

During COASTSWEEP 2020, while numbers were less than a normal year due to COVID-19, 703 volunteers removed nearly more than 9,000 pounds of trash from 254 sites (a lot of small cleanups), cleaning more than 151 miles of shoreline. As with past years, cigarette butts were the most common item collected (5,573 total), followed by plastic pieces (4,212). In addition to miscellaneous pieces of plastic, many other plastic items were removed, including bags, bottles and their caps, straws, utensils, food containers, coffee lids, 6-pack holders, cigar tips, strapping bands, and fishing line. Altogether, 10,770 pieces of plastic were removed from Bay State beaches.

To sign up to receive email updates on the 2021 cleanups, please email coastsweep@mass.gov.

Top 10 for 2020

Rank Debris Item Amount
1 Cigarette Butts 5,573
2 Plastic Pieces 4,212
3 Food Wrappers 1,825
4 Other Trash (uncategorized) 1,633
5 Plastic Bottle Caps 1,272
6 Plastic Beverage Bottles 1,260
7 Beverage Cans 985
8 Fishing Gear 930
9 Plastic Grocery Bags 730
10 Straws and Stirrers 688

For complete cleanup results, please see the COASTSWEEP 2020 data sheet (PDF, 89 KB). For more data, see the Summaries of Annual Cleanups, which links to an overview and summary statistics from past years. More on Marine Debris gives additional details on the types, sources, and impacts of marine debris.

Thank you to the many volunteers who make COASTSWEEP a success!

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