Blog : The Blue Ocean Society to Host Beach Clean-Ups Throughout the Seacoast

By Katelyn | Sep 16, 2015 | in

Fall is approaching quickly, but there’s still plenty of time to get outdoors and hit the beach. On Saturday, September 19, join Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation and volunteers from across the seacoast for the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup.

Blue Ocean Society is a non-profit organization, based in Portsmouth, working to protect marine animals in the Gulf of Maine through education, research, and conservation to both adults and students. Blue Ocean Society organizes the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup now in its 30th year.

This year’s cleanup will be conducted at approximately 25 sites along the New Hampshire coastline, and volunteers are needed to assist from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the cleanup, each piece of trash collected is recorded, and the data is used to implement city and state projects to reduce waste on New Hampshire beaches.

Last year, the event was successful with more than 1,120 volunteers cleaning 26 miles of New Hampshire’s coastlines and waterways. Volunteers collected 2,207 pounds of trash and the most common item collected was cigarette butts, of which more than 25,000 were collected. Jen Kennedy, Director of Blue Ocean Society said she is hoping for a larger volunteer turn out to make this year the most successful New Hampshire cleanup yet.

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the largest volunteer one-day event of its kind. The Ocean Conservancy, an organization that promotes healthy and diverse oceans and opposes practices that threaten ocean and human life, started the ICC in Texas in 1985. For its own part, Blue Ocean Society has coordinated the New Hampshire Cleanup since 2005 and was awarded a grant from the New Hampshire Coastal Program to organize and run the event.

The New Hampshire Coastal Program is federally approved and authorized under the Coastal Zone Management Act and is administered by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The program aims to create a balance between the use and preservation of coastal resources. Through partnerships, funding and science, the NHCP works to improve water quality and decision-making in 42 coastal watershed communities, supports maritime uses, and restores coastal wetlands.

Various local businesses have come together to sponsor this year’s cleanup, such as Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Exeter Hospital, GXT Green, and Starbucks. The event is also sponsored in part by Waste Management, who will assist with the disposal of the collected garbage.

As part of the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup, Blue Ocean Society will also hold a school cleanup on September 18, for students to participate in the 30th Annual International Day of Cleanup. Students from across the state will gather at Hampton Beach State Park, Rye Harbor State Park, and Wallis Sands State Park. Blue Ocean Society hopes at least five schools will attend this year, and welcomes all who are interested.

Before heading out to the cleanup, students will learn about environmental problems related to marine debris, including the dangers of human waste to marine mammals, fish, and birds from entanglement or ingestion. Students will collect trash on the beach and record their findings on data cards for further study by the Ocean Conservancy as part of their efforts to learn about marine pollution, locally and on an international level.

Last year, over 400 students, teachers and chaperones participated in the cleanup and collected 300 pounds of trash. The number one item collected was cigarette butts, including almost 13,000 by students alone.

In addition to the student cleanup, Blue Ocean Society offers interactive presentations about marine pollution, research, and conservation to area schools. To learn more about the NH Coastal Cleanup for students or to schedule a presentation, call (603) 431-0260 or email Jen at Jen@blueoceansociety.org

For more information on the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup and for a list of cleanup sites, click here

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