Delaware's Coastal Cleanup Scheduled for Sept. 18

Sept 16, 2004

Despite Rainy Conditions 1,880 Volunteers Expected

This Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon a registered 1,880 volunteers that include school groups, businesses, vacationing families and individuals are expected to comb Delaware's beaches and waterways in search of trash and marine debris. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is coordinating Delaware's 18th annual Coastal Cleanup.

Delaware's popular coastal cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup – the largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines and lakes by volunteers in the world. This is a rain or shine event unless conditions warrant a cancellation for safety reasons. Check
DNREC's coastal cleanup page for any cancellation information.

"It's definitely going to rain," says Delaware's Cleanup Coordinator, Jason Gleockler. "This might be the wettest Cleanup in more than four years so bring your raincoats, and boots." Last year's Cleanup was postponed because of Hurricane Isabel.

The Delaware cleanup areas span the length of the state's 97-mile eastern coastline and include river and ocean shoreline, wetland and watershed areas. Traditionally, Delaware has the largest number of cleanup sites within the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) region. This year, 44
sites throughout the First State are being targeted covering New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties. For a complete list go to www.dnrec.state.de.us and on the upper right hand column of the DNREC homepage click on "Register for the 2004 Coastal Cleanup" then click on "Information about sites."

Conectiv has been a primary partner of the Cleanup for many years. Playtex Family Products donates rubber gloves for cleanup volunteers. Delaware is joined with sister states Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup event.

The Coastal Cleanup program was started to provide a way to monitor the amount of trash being thrown into the oceans and waterways by fishing vessels, cruise ships, and recreational boaters. The cleanup has now grown to include participation by 55 states and territories and 90 countries,
with the number of both growing each year.

Data collected on the types of trash found in the cleanup areas can be instrumental in finding pollution sources and arriving at pollution control solutions.

Last year 1,135 Delaware volunteers used 794 trash bags to collect 17,564 pounds of debris from Delaware beaches and waterways. Cigarettes butts were the number one item collected. Volunteers picked up 14,072 cigarette butts! A wedding dress found at Port Mahon tops the list of strange finds; others include a mailbox, eyeglasses, fire extinguisher, file cabinet, kite, lawnmower, and two music stands. More than 3,400 hours of volunteer time were devoted to clean and protect Delaware's coastline and wildlife.

The data collected by the volunteers at the 35 sites from Fox Point State Park to Fenwick Island provide a snapshot of Delaware's 97 miles of coastline and will be used to reduce and eliminate trash and debris pollution.

Delaware's participation in Coastal Cleanup is part of an International Coastal Cleanup run by the Ocean Conservancy that supplies the trash bags, data cards, and more. The Ocean Conservancy is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to ensure that the world's oceans provide a healthy environment for an abundant and diverse population of marine animals.

The International Coastal Cleanup is the Conservancy's flagship program dealing with marine debris. It is the oldest and largest one-day volunteer effort on behalf of the marine environment of its kind. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world help each year to rid the
environment of marine debris. For more information on The Ocean Conservancy or the International Coastal Cleanup visit the Conservancy's website, www.oceanconservancy.org.

To volunteer for the Coastal Cleanup in Maryland, call (410) 629-1538; in Virginia, call (434) 395-2602; in New Jersey, call (609) 292-3224.

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