June 11, 2019 — Over two dozen volunteers participated in the Center for Coastal Studies’ World Oceans Day beach cleanup at Beach Point in Truro on June 8th. 4,996 pieces of trash were removed in less than 1.5 hours.
In a collaborative effort, the Town of Truro conducted cleanups at other Truro beaches and cleared 250 pounds of additional trash with their group of 45 volunteers.
The CCS effort involved two separate components – the cleanup, and the inventory. Without having to carry a clipboard or tally as they go, volunteers dispersed from Noons Landing, the Days Cottages, and Beach Point Landing, collecting trash for 1-2 hours and returning their bags to Beach Point Landing. Because identifying and tallying the debris from cleanups is an important and integral part of tackling marine plastic pollution, a second group of volunteers then spent 3 hours sorting and counting all the collected debris, allowing us to get a very clear idea of the primary culprits.
Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the top-ten items were what is called “consumer debris” – packaging materials, food-related items, toys, balloons, and polystyrene foam. Rope and buoy material from the lobster fishery were the only non-consumer debris in the top-ten list (by count).
The Top Ten List from the CCS World Oceans Day 2019 cleanup:
9: Balloons/balloon strings–226
7: Styrofoam cups/pieces–305
5: Food Wrappers–350
4: Construction Material (mostly insulation foam)–350
3: Rigid Non-descript plastic–492
2: Plastic Wrapping–703
1: Styrofoam Packaging–935
Volunteers and CCS staff stand behind their work after three hours of sorting and counting debris. (Photo credit: Demi Fox, NOAA)
In amongst the trash were a few “treasures”: antique glass bottle, plastic toy soldier, plastic toy Indian chief, plastic toy shovels, plastic duck decoy head, and a plastic wastewater treatment disk, called a “Hooksett disk” since 2011 when millions of them were accidentally released from a plant in Hooksett NH, showing up on beaches ever since.
The Center for Coastal Studies would like to thank Julie Knapp at Twisted Pizza for supporting the CCS cleanup, and congratulate the Town of Truro for their same-day success. To sign up for future beach cleanups in Provincetown, contact Jesse Mechling or Laura Ludwig at 508-487-3622.