DOVER – This year’s DNREC-sponsored 30th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup held Sept. 16 drew 1,567 volunteers, who collected 3.8 tons of trash from 47 sites along more than 75 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island. About one-quarter of that trash was recyclables – mostly aluminum cans and glass and plastic beverage bottles.
DNREC organizes the annual cleanup with co-sponsors including: the Ocean Conservancy; Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing Inc., which donates gloves; and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables collected by volunteers.
“In addition to marring the natural beauty of our beaches and waterways, trash is dangerous to marine life and unhealthy for water quality,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Each year, the Coastal Cleanup helps make a difference for marine life and water quality – and it’s the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, many of whom come back year after year, who make the Cleanup an annual environmental success story.”
Some of the more unusual items found during this year’s cleanup were: a wallet, wrist watch, cell phone, parmesan cheese shaker, a large heavy rug, a statue of the Virgin Mary, golf tee, ant trap, Big Wheel tire, cooler, garden hose, vacuum cleaner, trailer registration tag, toy bulldozer, green army men, half a driver’s license and credit card, handle bars, snow hat, mermaid doll, Mardi Gras beads, confetti, glowsticks, oil cans, multiple gas tanks and televisions, and, at one site, 205 liquor bottles.
Some items were notable in their numbers. Statewide, volunteers picked up 16,158 cigarette butts, up from last year’s total of 13,577. Balloons increased from 654 to 933 this year. Other items included 397 fireworks, 289 spent shotgun shells and 2,671 plastic bags.
This year, more than 22,126 pieces of food/beverage-related trash were picked up. This year’s notable numbers included 4,580 food wrappers, 4,636 plastic bottle caps, 993 lids, 1,898 straws, 2,815 plastic beverage bottles, 1,958 beverage cans, 1,004 glass bottles and 4,242 paper, plastic and foam cups, plates and take-out containers.
Delaware’s next Coastal Cleanup is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Registration will be posted on DNREC’s website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Admin/Pages/Delaware-Coastal-Cleanup.aspx next July, with groups of 10 or encouraged to pre-register beginning May 1 by calling 302-739-9902 or emailing Delaware Coastal Cleanup Coordinator Joanna Wilson at Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. The types and quantities of trash collected are recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information to help identify debris sources and focus efforts on elimination or reduction. For more information, please visit www.oceanconservancy.org.