Volunteers are being encouraged to preregister on the DNREC website for the 29th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 19. The DNREC-sponsored cleanup spans the First State’s 97-mile eastern coastline and includes river and ocean shorelines, as well as wetland and watershed areas. This year, 50 sites in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties are being targeted, and many of those sites are filling up fast with volunteers, so organizers said it’s a good idea to register early.
Pre-registering helps ensure enough supplies are packed for the volunteers at each site. To see a map of this year’s sites, or to pre-register, go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/CoastalCleanup. Pre-registration will close on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the close of business.
At last year’s Coastal Cleanup, 1,805 volunteers from civic organizations, youth groups, businesses and families collected 3.5 tons of trash from 46 sites along Delaware’s shorelines and tributaries. About one-third of that trash — mostly aluminum cans and plastic bottles — was recycled.
Volunteers’ more unusual finds included chopsticks, a laundry basket, runner’s race number tag, electric saber saw, windshield wiper, basketball, baseball, bowling ball, tennis balls, paint brush, tweezers, tiki torches, Barbie doll, glow stick, auto fender, plastic trellis, shingle, flashlight, toilet seat, Christmas lights, telephone box, TV, coat, engine, pinup girl postcard, an unopened 12-pack of razors, hubcap and a message in a bottle.
Delaware’s Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines and lakes by volunteers. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world help each year to rid the environment of marine debris and collect detailed information on the types and quantities of refuse they find.
The information is recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles data for all of the cleanups held in the country and around the world. The information helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it. The Ocean Conservancy supplies trash bags, data cards and marine debris brochures.
Delaware’s cleanup is co-sponsored by Delmarva Power, which provides T-shirts for the participants. DNREC is responsible for organizing the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating data. Edgewell Personal Care, Playtex Manufacturing Inc., which provides gloves, and trash and recyclables hauler Waste Management also return as sponsors. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), which provides safety vests for roadside site volunteers, also joins the sponsor list for the 2015 cleanup.
For more information about the Ocean Conservancy and the International Coastal Cleanup, visit www.oceanconservancy.org. For more information about the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, call Joanna Wilson, Delaware Coastal Cleanup coordinator, at (302) 739-9902.