More than four tons of trash were cleaned off Connecticut beaches during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup Day, according to the Save the Sound organization.
The 1,554 volunteers who took part in last fall’s cleanup worked on 44 different beaches along 68.9 miles of this state’s Long Island Sound shoreline. They ended the day filling 453 bags with trash of every description.
According to the Ocean Conservancy, the group that coordinates the international cleanup day, the top trash items collected by all volunteers were: cigarette butts (more than 2 million of them); food wrappers (1.7 million); plastic beverage bottles (940,000); bottle caps (848,000); straws and stirrers (555,000).
Leah Lopez Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs at Save the Sound, said whole purpose of the annual fall cleanup is “to ensure beaches and marshes everywhere are healthy for people and wildlife alike.”
The 2013 Connecticut portion of the cleanup effort included support from a flock of environmental and civic groups, scouting troops, schools, churches and other organizations.
“One need look no further than the Pacific Garbage Patch, which is nearly twice the size of the United States, to understand that marine debris is a massive problem; locally our beaches and marshes are choked with plastics, cigarette butts, tires, and more—all of which threaten wildlife and can hurt beachgoers” said Schmalz.
The world-wide cleanup effort in 2013 involved an estimated 650,000 volunteers in 92 countries.