The New York State Beach Cleanup, a part of the International Coastal Cleanup, is coordinated by the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society. Held every September, the program engages people to remove debris from beaches and waterways while identifying and documenting the types of debris they find. The Northeast Chapter has taken this grassroots program from 100 volunteers at 4 sites in New York City to over 6,300 volunteers at 173 sites statewide who documented and removed over 90,000 pounds of debris in 2011.
Removal of marine debris and prevention of future accumulations is vitally important to the coastal environment and to humans. Making up approximately ¾ of all marine debris, plastics persist in the environment for many years and are especially harmful to wildlife. Ingested plastics can cause internal injury, intestinal blockage and starvation. Thousands of birds and marine animals die each year from entanglement in monofilament fishing line, strapping bands, and 6-pack ring holders. Marine debris can cause injury to beachgoers and pose a navigation hazard to boaters. Pollution from marine debris also compromises the productivity of wetlands which act as nurseries for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish. Marine debris compresses and kills the salt marsh grass which supports the estuary’s food chain, filters pollution, and protects the coast from wave damage.
While the activities on the day of the cleanup are important and receive much positive publicity, the compilation, analysis and dissemination of the data collected have an even greater impact. This cleanup is unique in that volunteers fill out data cards about what they remove. These data are summarized for individual sites and all data cards sent to The Ocean Conservancy for analysis. The resultant studies produce strategies to combat marine pollution and to inform policy makers, the media, and the public about solutions to the problem. Data from the Beach Cleanup were instrumental in garnering support for the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.
The American Littoral Society’s role is to identify sites for cleanup and recruit beach captains and volunteers across New York State; provide training about how data should be recorded and reported; procure and distribute supplies and Certificates of Appreciation; staff a hotline for volunteers; and manage publicity. We work hard to develop partnerships with public and private groups to participation in the Beach Cleanup and have successfully engaged public officials, corporate volunteer programs, other environmental organizations, and diverse community groups.
The impact of this program includes not only cleaner beaches, but increased awareness and positive changes in buying habits and recycling efforts. A well-organized beach cleanup is a prime activity for learning about the marine environment – its value to people and wildlife, threats to its productivity and the actions that people can take to improve it. Participating in the Beach Cleanup helps people see that the choices they make directly impact the environment.
The International Coastal Cleanup is the largest volunteer effort impacting the marine environment. Anyone can participate. No other program in New York does more to improve both the coastal environment and the human behavior that impacts it. Our goal is to increase participation in this program and our collective ability to positively impact the shorelines and waterways of New York and New England. Please consider joining a cleanup at a location near you or become a beach captain and organize a new cleanup in your community.
|Thu Nov 14 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM|
Native Plant Society Meeting
|Thu Dec 12 @ 6:00PM - |
Urban Cemeteries as Historic Landscapes Presented by NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
|Thu Dec 12 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM|
Native Plant Society Meeting
|Sat Dec 21 @10:00AM - 01:00PM|
Winter Birds & Survival Walk in Jamaica Bay
|Wed Jan 01 @11:00AM - 01:00PM|
New Year's Day Beachwalk @ Fort Tilden
|Wed Jan 01 @11:00AM - |
New Year’s Day Beach Walk - Sandy Hook, NJ
|Sun Jan 05 @10:00AM - 12:00PM|
Wild Winter Nature Hike
|Fri Jan 10 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM|
Montauk Winter Weekend with NYC Audubon
|Sun Feb 02 @10:00AM - 12:00PM|
Exploring Dead Horse Bay