Beach Cleanup is Sunday, Sept. 16

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 8:15am

It is September — the beach crowds have thinned out, temperatures have dropped, and school has started up.

Now another crowd of beach-goers will return to the state’s coastlines. Thousands of individuals, groups and families will participate in one of the largest global volunteer events: the International Coastal Cleanup. Save the Bay invites volunteers to head to Rhode Island shorelines on Saturday and Sunday — Sept. 15 and 16 — to participate.

Organized internationally by the Ocean Conservancy, and statewide by Save the Bay, volunteers not only clean up the trash that litters our shores, they also document what they find, tallying each piece of trash picked up. This data is published in an annual report that draws attention to marine debris and provides background for policy decisions that address the problem at its source.

Last year, 2,629 Rhode Islanders participated in the ICC, including 38 Block Island volunteers. The leading categories of picked-up items were: tiny plastic and foam pieces (42,124); cigarette butts, wrappers and cigar tips (36,575); plastic or foam cups, lids, plates, utensils, take-out containers, and balloons (9,732); and, straws and stirrers (4,543). 

International Coastal Cleanup is the world's largest volunteer effort to help protect our oceans, lakes and rivers. Ocean Conservancy uses the data collected on the cleanup to produce an annual country-by-country, state-by-state index of the problem of marine debris.

On Block Island, this annual event is coordinated by the The Nature Conservancy’s OVF Naturalist Perch, and the local branch of Washington Trust. But more importantly, the B.I. Beach Cleanup is sponsored by all of the island’s land conservation and environmental education organizations: Block Island Conservancy, Block Island Land Trust, Block Island Maritime Institute, Block Island Residents Association, Committee for the Great Salt Pond, The Nature Conservancy, Town of New Shoreham; and with the support of Block Island Recycling Management.

Your Help Is Needed

On Sunday, Sept. 16, beach cleanup debris can be deposited at a dumpster at the Fred Benson Beach parking lot between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information about the ICC in Rhode Island, visit For more details about how to help the Block Island-based ICC effort, or to arrange to get debris collection forms and bags, call (401) 595-7055, or Barbara MacMullan at (401) 466-7710.To see the full Rhode Island 2017 ICC report go to