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International Coastal Cleanup


Well, we weren’t coastal or inter­na­tional, but we were out there. As part of this world-wide effort, some great Howard County vol­un­teers spent a few hours on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing clean­ing up a stream and the stream banks around it.

One inter­est­ing thing about the Inter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the data col­lec­tion. Usu­ally when we do our Howard County cleanups we track the weight of trash and recy­cling and the num­ber of vol­un­teers and their hours. This works for us and is pretty effi­cient and use­ful. The ICC (the cleanup, not the road) pro­vides clip­boards and data cards for track­ing very spe­cific infor­ma­tion such as the num­ber of cig­a­rette butts. Sigh. Believe me, it is dif­fi­cult to carry a trash bag, sep­a­rate trash from recy­cling, and carry a clip­board. It’s just not that practical.

How­ever, get­ting over my bad atti­tude, it is inter­est­ing and raises your aware­ness about what you are actu­ally look­ing at and pick­ing up. The most unusual thing we took out of our envi­ron­ment this time was a great-looking lawn mower. We removed 2 plas­tic Adiron­dack chairs, and one of the vol­un­teers actu­ally took one home to keep. Side ben­e­fit of volunteering!

But I digress. We did our best to track the data the ICC way. Our biggest items were cig­a­rette butts and plas­tic bags. The over­all results of the world-wide cleanup are pretty amaz­ing – From the Ocean Conservancy’s web­site – “By under­stand­ing what is out there, we can work together on solu­tions. For instance, each year vol­un­teers col­lect more than a mil­lion bev­er­age bot­tles from beaches, shore­lines, and under­wa­ter in just one day.”

We’re done with local cleanups for 2012, but will be back for more in the Spring of 2013. Hope to see you out there. Please con­tact me if you have a group that would be inter­ested, or if you just want to be added to the email list. Many thanks to the vol­un­teers and to Sue Muller, nat­u­ral­ist extra­or­di­naire with Howard County Recre­ation and Parks. We planned and worked the 2012 cleanups together.

For more infor­ma­tion on the ICC, check out the Ocean Conservancy’s web­site. They have a lot of great pro­grams putting all they’ve got into sav­ing our oceans.

Elissa Rei­neck

Octo­ber 2012

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