On Saturday, September 15th, the Keep Lee County Beautiful and Keep Collier County Beautiful Coastal Cleanups offer an alternative, and somewhat more altruistic, way to spend a day at the beach than the typical frolicking and snoozing.
The Coastal Cleanup is the only cleanup where trash is collected and recorded. The data cards are then sent to the Ocean Conservancy, where the information is used in the development of new environmental protection acts and to change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place.
The data cards are designed to have groups of four working together: three to collect litter and debris and one to record the findings. Latex gloves will be handed out, but volunteers may want to bring tougher work gloves.
In 2011, the Lee County cleanup program registered more than 1,000 volunteers who removed and recorded just over 4.5 tons of litter and debris from local waterways. Groups participating included the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Students Working Against Tobacco, cheerleaders, students and residents of all types and ages.
More than 800 people have pre-registered at Lee’s six public coastal sites this year, but several hundred more people are expected and welcome to register onsite on cleanup day.
The event is also to educate and remind residents and tourists that it is important to keep beaches clean and to properly take care of solid waste.
Keep Collier Beautiful Coastal Cleanup sites include: Delnor Wiggins Pass, Vanderbilt Beach, Lowdermilk Park, Naples Pier, Clam Pass, and Rookery Bay NERR. Tiger Tail Beach, Golden Gate Canals, Isle of Capri, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Barefoot Beach Preserve, Naples Bay, and Haldeman Creek.