Over 3,000 Gather to Clean Up Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – SOLV'S yearly Oregon Spring Beach Cleanup ended today with an estimated 43,991 total pounds of trash picked up by some 3,261 volunteers, along all of the 360 miles of Oregon coastline (above: Hug Point near Cannon Beach).
Winter storms leave the greatest amount of trash – although this comes from humans chucking it into the ocean or beaches first. But this year an extra effort was needed in the Brookings area as the tsunami there left truckloads of fiberglass from a wrecked yacht, as well as other objects churned up by the event such as buoys, ropes, cushions and other gear that went overboard.
The twice-yearly cleanup effort is more than just to make the beaches look pretty: glass, rope and plastic can pose hazards to marine life, birds, and humans themselves. Some marine creatures get strangled by lost ropes or mistake them for food, and then ingesting these kills them.
SOLV said about 1,947 pounds were recycled in Saturday’s cleanup, and 41 tires were picked up – with about 96 percent of the cleanup zones reporting in so far.
“With strength in numbers, Oregonians made a huge positive impact on the health of our oceans, wildlife, and coastal economies today” said SOLV Executive Director Melisa McDonald. “Never underestimate the impact that just one person taking the time to keep our beaches clean can make, much less thousands.”
Entire families pitched in, some using colanders or screens to sift the sand for bite-sized bits of plastic.
Always there are oddball items that make the list of finds, with most zone captains reporting a preponderance of plastic bottles and tires. This year, a yacht near Brookings made the list of unusual stuff, after it was torn from the bay and washed up at Mill Beach.
Truck-size blocks of Styrofoam were found in Newport and Brookings. A large dock was discovered at Waldport’s Alsea Bay and a fuel tank was picked up off the beach Gearhart.
Most common were the small pieces of plastic, cigarette butts, food containers, rope, bags, and fishing nets that have been floating around the ocean for a while.
The event took place all over the coast, including areas like Warrenton, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Arch Cape, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Oceanside, Cape Lookout, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Depoe Bay and Yachats, as well as the entire southern half of the coast. This was SOLV’s 26th annual spring beach cleanup.
Volunteers also worked toward a zero waste event by bringing their own buckets and bags to reduce the amount of trash bags used, as well as reusable drinking and food containers.
Hauling and/or recycling services were provided free-of-charge for this year’s cleanup by the following companies: Bandon Transfer & Recycling in Bandon, Cart’m Reycling in Manzanita, Central Coast Disposal in Florence, City Sanitary in Tillamook, Curry Transfer & Recycling in Brookings, Dahl Disposal Service in Waldport, Nestucca Valley Sanitary Service in Hebo, North Lincoln Sanitary Service in Lincoln City, R Sanitary Service in Rockaway Beach, Thompson’s Sanitary Service in Newport, & Western Oregon Waste in Warrenton. Disposal costs were offset by coastal counties such as Lincoln County and Tillamook County Solid Waste Service Districts, Douglas County transfer site, Lane County Transfer and privately owned transfer stations. OPRD and Coos Bay District Bureau of Land Management help cover waste disposal costs in North Bend and Coos Bay.
The fall cleanup in September yielded 142,231 pounds of trash and recyclables under blue skies as the Oregon Beach Cleanup was combined with the rest of the state’s rivers. Some 6,135 volunteers turned out statewide at 160 sites to participate in SOLV’s big scouring event.
Today's cleanup reportedly vacillated greatly between sunny and rainy conditions up and down the Oregon coast.
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