Sunday, March 13, 2016

Community Cleanups Matter

Cleaning the community and spreading awareness through
 outreach and education.

On Wednesday, March 9, UNCW POP volunteers, Scott Davis and Danielle Gutierrez spoke to the students at Ogden Elementary School in Wilmington, NC.  During the school wide presentation, Scott and Danielle spoke to the students about the dangers of plastics in our oceans, how they affect turtles, cetaceans and fish, and what the children can do to help.  They played interactive games with the students while spreading the message about how long plastics and litter last in our environment.  Kim Beller, Plastic Ocean Project volunteer spoke about the Middle Sound Community Cleanup on Saturday, March 12, and invited the students and their families to join the event.  A huge thank you to Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots Mini-grant that helped fund the cleanup and to Ogden Elementary School and to Yvonne Lovvorn for helping organize the event.  


Middle Sound Loop Community Cleanup

On Saturday, March 12, the Middle Sound Loop community came together to help clean the litter on the loop.  The 5 mile loop is surrounded by water on 3 sides, including creeks, marsh, wetlands, and the intracoastal waterway.  The concern and reality is that this litter and debris will eventually make its way to the ocean.  Students, parents, and residents in the community came together and cleaned over 750 pounds of litter from the loop.  Plastic Ocean Project Founder, Bonnie Monteleone was there to speak to the crowd about the issues with plastics and what the organization is doing to help clean up the environment and come up with solutions to the plastic epidemic.
Lisa Rider, President of Plastic Ocean Project talked about the importance of using the Marine Debris Tracker App.  No matter where you are, you can use the tracker app which adds all litter collected to a data base system which helps keep track of top items collected.  

During the cleanup, volunteers helped sort and weigh all of the trash collected.  The recyclables were taken out to be disposed of at the recycle center.  Wrightsville Beach Keep it Clean volunteer, Ginger Taylor helped with the efforts and picked up trash along the loop. 

Area residents, Jenn Butler, Tony Butler and Chelsea Thornwell came out to pitch in and clean up.  

Adam Brown, Middle Sound Loop resident volunteered to haul off the trash and debris.  (Thanks so much)!  He hauled a few trailer loads of trash to the dumpster.

Students pitched in to make a difference in the community. 

The amount of trash picked up and removed from the loop is truly unbelievable.  We have to start making different choices and encouraging people to dispose of litter in a responsible way.  Organizing a neighborhood/ community cleanup is a good way to make a difference and bring people together.  Wherever you are, whether near an ocean or in the middle of the country, you can prevent litter from going into our oceans by cleaning up in your area.  Everything goes downstream and eventually ends up in the oceans.  A huge thanks to all of the volunteers who showed up to help with the cleanup.  It was a huge success.  Another cleanup is in the works for September.  
As we usually focus on the beaches and spoil islands, this cleanup in Middle Sound brought awareness and is proof that we need to clean up in neighborhoods and communities as well.
If you would like to organize a cleanup, please feel free to contact us with questions and suggestions.

"Individually, we are one drop.  Together, we are an ocean."