In its inaugural season and in just a few months, the Newport Harbor Trash Skimmers at Perrotti Park removed more than 6,000 pounds of debris from Newport Harbor.

The first step of the Clean Ocean Access “Newport Harbor Trash Skimmer Project”, funded by 11th Hour Racing, kicked off on August 2, 2016, with the City of Newport and Toner Electric installing 2 trash skimmers at Perrotti Park.

“The skimmers are a highly effective method for improving the health of Newport Harbor by removing floating surface debris, and collecting oil and toxins to improve water quality and overall ecosystem services. In their inaugural season in 2016, the skimmers removed over 6,000 pounds of debris,” a press release from Clean Ocean Access announcing the 2017 launch says.

“During fall, 2016, the Newport Harbor Trash Skimmers (NHTS) removed 1,338 pieces of plastic from Newport Harbor. This plastic has likely been introduced to the environment over the years, and has broken down into smaller pieces of plastic that are now being removed by the NHTS,” Clean Ocean Access shared on Facebook back in March.

The goal of the project is to reduce the amount of marine debris in the Newport harbor, increase the recreational value of the waterfront, bring awareness to the types of re-accumulating debris, and partner with the sailing and marine community to amplify the message of stewardship and environmental sustainability.

Clean Ocean Access, 11th Hour Racing, and the City of Newport invite the public to join them on Friday, April 21 at 10 a.m. for the launch of the 2nd season of the Newport Harbor Trash Skimmers at Perrotti Park, immediately followed what Clean Ocean Access is calling “a big announcement”.

The event is open the public and includes a tour of skimmer operations. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 9:45 a.m. to be treated to hot coffee provided by Empire Tea & Coffee (all guests must bring their own mug).

With such a short season in 2016, could the skimmers pick up even more trash during a full season in 2017?

“If the source of the debris remains the same, it is possible we will see twice as much material removed. The debris is co-mingled with seaweed and leaves.Our goal is to reduce the litter on Aquidneck Island, so if we are successful in that effort it should result in less debris entering the harbor from the storm drains,” Dave McLaughlin, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Access told What’sUpNewp on Thursday evening.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).