NEWBURYPORT — Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge announce that the Coastsweep 2013 cleanup for Plum Island, including the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Sandy Point State Reservation, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
David Larson, Science and Education coordinator for Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats, is looking for 100-plus volunteers of all ages willing to help clean up trash and debris from the roads, trails and beaches. Those interested are encouraged to bring friends, family, teachers or students. In 2012, 126 volunteers picked up 2,600 pounds of debris over 11 miles — everything from cigarette butts to a hubcap, a car bumper, a diver’s mask and thousands of plastic disks from the Hooksett, N.H., wastewater treatment plant disaster.
Check-in is at the refuge’s parking lot #1, where supplies will be provided by Mass Audubon staff. People are advised to bring their own work gloves. Data about trash collected by volunteers will be entered into a database by the Center for Marine Conservation in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of tracking the sources of waste.
Coastsweep data shows that the primary type of trash (by number) is, repeatedly, cigarette butts. In 2011, Massachusetts Coastsweep volunteers reported collecting approximately 24,700 cigarette butts. That number increased to just over 35,460 in 2012. Food wrappers and containers were also fairly high, with a reported 13,474.
Participation in Coastsweep is free, for all ages, and will be held rain or shine. Participants do not need to preregister and may show up at any time during the day.
Coastsweep is the annual state-wide coastal cleanup sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and coordinated by the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston. Coastsweep has helped thousands of volunteers clean hundreds of miles of shoreline and riverbanks over the past 20 years. Background information on Coastsweep is at: http://www.coastsweep.umb.edu/.