Removing trash from the beach

Rec Department senior trips planned off island
Thu, 01/03/2019 - 5:15pm

There are two issues regarding the amount of trash accumulated at the Fred Benson Beach Pavilion: how best to remove it, and how to discourage residents and visitors from dumping their residential trash at the two trash bins placed at that location.

Recreation Department Director Dave Sniffen said that other beach communities offer paper bags to beachgoers to use to take away their trash from the beach, a program Block Island has not yet implemented. “A lot of communities offer beach-walk bags and then take them back,” he said. Another option, said Sniffen, was one that he did not personally advocate, but has found some success in other communities as well, which is removing trash receptacles from the beach area, which could perhaps force beachgoers to voluntarily take their trash with them if they found no place to put it.

“Heavy-duty beach cleanup paper bags are all you really need,” said Recreation Board Chair Chris Willi.

There are two bins at the town beach during the summer, as well as other receptacles. Sniffen said that a significant amount of trash is accumulated at the beach every day, but that a more pressing issue was the fact that residents and visitors use the bins for their trash disposal rather than going to the transfer station.

“It’s residential trash, it’s not trash from the beach,” said Willi.

Sniffen said that when he arrives at the beach in the morning, the dumpsters are often full, and there are gulls flocking around the exposed garbage.

The Recreation Board members felt that signage could alleviate the problem. The use of video surveillance was also discussed.

Senior Trips

The Recreation Department, in conjunction with the Senior Advisory Committee, is offering up mainland trips for island seniors but is having some difficulty drumming up interest in them. Both groups are trying to offer more activities for the island’s senior population, and the Recreation Department has been offering these senior trips for the past three years in order to expand their services to the entire community, rather than just a younger demographic, according to Recreation Assistant Cindy Lemon.

Lemon said that a recent Christmas trip to the mainland saws four people register for the trip. “They enjoyed it, it was fun,” said Lemon, but said that sometimes trips are planned but not taken due to lack of participation.

“I feel these trips are pretty important for the group and we’re trying to serve the seniors,” said Sniffen.

The trips can be made for any number of things — shopping, doctors appointments — “but we’re not getting as much participation as we’d like. We’ll keep putting it out there. I think these trips are important,” said Sniffen.

“This is for the winter months?” asked Willi, and Lemon responded that it was.

Anyone wishing to request a trip or to sign up for one can contact Senior Coordinator Gloria Redlich at or at (401) 466-2897, or Cindy Lemon at (401) 466-3223.