Volunteers ready to clean up the coastline

The 2009 Coastal Cleanup will officially kick-off this Saturday, Sept. 19. Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservatory’s International Coastal Cleanup. Regionally, participants will be cleaning up 47 Delaware sites, plus 10 sites in Maryland and four sites in New Jersey, combing the beaches for debris that is harmful to marine life, a degradation of area beaches and just plain ugly.

The local skimboard community will team up to clean the beaches in Dewey that they use every day. Harvest Skimboards of Bethany Beach and Ally Oop of Dewey Beach have registered more than 40 people to participate. Jason Wilson, owner of Alley Oop, stated, “The ocean and beach are such a part of our lives. We feel it is important to do our part to preserve our environment, and as role models show the next generation how to get active and make a difference in their community.”

Bill Baxter, manager of the Bethany Surf Shop and owner of Harvest Skimboards and Pile Skimboarding Magazine, concurred.

“The beach gives some of us skimboarders our livelihoods and some a lot of fun with friends and family. It’s good to give back,” he said.

The Dewey Beach cleanup takes place from 9 a.m. to noon and starts where Dickinson Street runs into the beach (for reference, the Rusty Rudder is located on Dickinson Street on the bay side of Route 1).

Other coastal sites include Bethany Beach (volunteers will meet at the bandstand in downtown Bethany Beach); South Bethany Beach, where volunteers will meet at South Second Street in South Bethany at the ocean; and in Fenwick Island, where participants will meet at Dagsboro Street on the beach.

At Holts Landing State Park, near Clarksville, participants will meet in the parking lot near the crabbing pier at 9 a.m.; and, at Delaware Seashore State Park North at the Inlet, they are encouraged to meet in the main parking lot near the restrooms by 9 a.m. (tell the park feet attendant you are there for the Coastal Cleanup).

A complete list of cleanup sites is available online at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/CoastalCleanup/Pages/CoastalCleanupSites.a....

Trash bags are supplied by the Ocean Conservancy, as well as data cards and pencils that will help track the debris collected. Delaware’s cleanup is also co-sponsored with Delmarva Power, which provides collectable T-shirts for the participants, and Playtex, which provides gloves. Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control(DNREC) is responsible for organizing the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating all the data collected.

While participants have been encouraged to pre-register so they could be sure to get a T-shirt, volunteers are always welcome, even if they just come by that day.

“We encourage people to come even if they have not registered,” offered Joanna Wilson of DNREC. “We love volunteers!”

In August, at the kick-off for recruiting volunteers, DNREC Secretary O’Mara Collin P. O’Mara said that volunteers of all ages were being invited to the 24th annual event and also mentioned the recent marine debris five-year report released by the Ocean Conservancy, which stated that trash that coming from humans’ ocean and land-based activities has increased by more then 5 percent each year.

“We really need everyone,” he said. “The success depends on citizens of the state. With the care of the citizens, we will reverse the trend.”