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Microplastics Still an Issue on Oregon Coast: Groups Ask for Help Cleaning Up

Published 02/20/2019 at 3:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Microplastics Still an Issue on Oregon Coast: Groups Ask for Help Cleaning Up

(Oregon Coast) – Earlier this year, microplastics hit the Oregon coast with a wallop, for whatever reason. Some areas were a few layers thick in the nasty, tiny stuff – all of it detrimental to the environment and ocean wildlife in a variety of ways. (Photo above: courtesy Newport's Surfrider Foundation, showing Otter Rock's beach).

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Although the SOLVE Oregon Coast Beach Cleanup is coming on March 23, some citizens are not waiting to help squash this problem. Two grassroots efforts to clean up plastics are happening soon, one at Newport on February 24 and the other in Cannon Beach on March 16.

The Newport chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is in need of volunteers to clean up the beach at Otter Rock. Organizers say there are still loads of plastic and other trash on the beach at the moment, still more than has been seen in previous years. Part of this is due to the King Tides.

Scott Rosin, head of the Newport chapter, has developed a system to collect microplastic and wash the sand out. This is very effective but very labor intensive.

Meet at the Otter Rock parking lot Sunday, February 24 at 10 a.m. - near the restrooms. Rosin will distribute supplies and do an introductory presentation. After that the scouring will be begin on the rugged little beach next to Devil’s Punchbowl.

“Don’t forget rubber boots and appropriate attire,” Rosin said.

This will be the sixth consecutive Sunday for this effort.

“We're starting to win,” Rosin said. “Cleanup will happen every Sunday for the foreseeable future until the northwest winds bury the microplastic in late spring.”

Times vary according to tides. For the complete calendar go to: https://newport.surfrider.org/calendar/. Each cleanup lasts about four hours or until everyone goes home.

Earlier this year, 760 pounds of the small stuff was taken off that beach. -- Lodgings in Newport - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Another grassroots cleanup effort happens on the north Oregon coast at Cannon Beach in March, just before the big beach cleanup. March 16 brings the “Lucky Leprechaun” Clean-Up, starting at 1 p.m.

It’s put together by Kellie Southworth O'Shaughnessy, who created another such event this winter after getting alarmed by media coverage of all the plastics inundating the Oregon coast.

“Instead of looking for pots of gold, we’re looking to fill pots of plastic,” O'Shaughnessy said. “The high tides have brought in tremendous amounts of broken down plastic debris. Not only is it an eyesore for locals and visitors alike, wreaks havoc on land and sea dwelling animals as it is mistaken for food. While the larger issues of plastic’s production and consumption need to be addressed, we can at least prevent further harm to the wildlife by trying to remove as much as possible.”

Meet at the public beach access ramp located directly behind the Wayfarer Restaurant off of West Gower Ave. on Ecola Ct. at 1 p.m. Low tide will be around 3:55 p.m. O'Shaughnessy said to also bring supplies such as gloves, buckets, sifters, and necessary food and drink. Lodging in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours





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