This year’s International Coastal Cleanup was a huge success despite the challenges of COVID. All five of our chapters hosted cleanups this month, and with the help of partners and the dedication of hundreds of volunteers, removed over 2000 lbs of trash from our beaches! We also want to give a huge shout out to our partners at Washington Coastsavers, who help coordinate major cleanups, including ICC, along Washington’s outer coast and the peninsula each year. We also want to thank Stasher, who generously donated reusable silicone bags to Surfrider chapters across the US to help promote the cleanup and encourage volunteers to choose reusables.
Our Bellingham chapter joined partner organizations like the Port of Bellingham’s Marine Life Center, RE Sources, Whatcom County’s Marine Resource Commission, and Ocean Conservancy for ICC as part of the larger Whatcom Water Week! Together, these organizations hosted three concurrent cleanups. The NWS chapter volunteers removed over 140 lbs of trash from the I&J Waterway beach, with a surprise visit from Wayne Drop, the Whatcom Water Week mascot. To learn more about what the NWS chapter is up to, head to their website!
The Seattle Chapter hosted their ICC cleanup at Golden Gardens. The paddle portion of their originally scheduled Clean & Cruise, which is an ongoing series of beach cleanups and community paddles that the chapter hosts, had to be cancelled due to some inclement weather. But the cleanup continued in rain and shine and Golden Gardens is lookin’ cleaner than ever! To learn about when the next Clean & Cruise will be, as well as upcoming meetings and events, sign up for their newsletter on the Seattle Chapter website.
The South Sound chapter hosted their cleanup at Old Town Dock, removing over 300 lbs of trash from the land AND sea! With the help of a crew of SCUBA divers, they removed sunken treasures like this bicycle. A prior underwater cleanup found 9 Lime scooters deep-sixed off the pier! To learn about your Tacoma chapter’s upcoming events, head to the South South website and sign up for the newsletter at the bottom!
Our Olympia chapter, in partnership with State Parks, set up their table at Twin Harbors State Park. This year, however, they did something a little different! Working with Zero Waste Washington, they implemented the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) litter survey assessment, called the Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP). Using a standardized national protocol will allow us to use these data to advocate for robust policies aimed at reducing single-use plastics. To sign up for the Olympia chapter’s newsletter and learn about upcoming events, like their monthly downtown Butt Pickups, head to the Oly Chapter website.
The Olympic Peninsula Chapter hosted their ICC cleanup on Ediz Hook at Harborview Park. Over 30 volunteers, including Coast Guard service members, showed up and removed almost 100 lbs of trash from the spit – over 1380 pieces of garbage! In the process, they learned of an abandoned building that had been vandalized and was located near an otter den. So they painstakingly removed over 1000 lbs of broken glass and construction material from the area! To learn more about OPC and sign up for their newsletter, head to their website!
Cleanups, as fun and important as they are for keeping our beaches beautiful and safe for people and wildlife, are not a solution. That’s why our volunteers go the extra mile to collect data on the types and amounts of trash we find. These data are critical in our fight to stop plastic pollution at its source, before it finds its way into our waters. We use data-driven advocacy to pass bills like SB 5022 (which bans ‘styrofoam’ among other things), or our soon-to-be implemented bag ban (which goes into effect Oct 1st, 2021!). So huge thanks to all our volunteers who spend their weekends and free time picking up and sorting through trash – you make progress possible!