Save The Bay is encouraging volunteers to #ConnectAndCollect at this year’s International Coastal Cleanup efforts in Rhode Island this September-October.

Kicking off on September 18, the International Coastal Cleanup, now in its 36th year, is the world’s largest international effort to collect trash from local lakes, waterways, beaches and the ocean. As the event coordinator for Rhode Island, Save The Bay typically unites more than 2,500 volunteers to participate in collecting litter and data for the initiative.

“The International Coastal Cleanup presents a unique opportunity to remove harmful debris from shorelines and contribute to a meaningful, global citizen scientist effort for the betterment of our waters,” said Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone in a statement. “It’s also an opportunity to come together as a community to connect with and protect Narragansett Bay.”

“We are so grateful to the volunteers who show up year after year to say ‘It’s not OK to trash the Bay’,” said Save The Bay Volunteer and Internship Manager July Lewis in a statement. “These community members play a pivotal role in preserving shorelines for recreation and protecting the health of our local waters.

“While we were able to hold some small and remote cleanups last year, we’re looking forward to giving our volunteers more opportunities to join the effort and make a difference this year—whether they clean up a small spot in their neighborhood, or join us for one of our cleanups!”

Hundreds of volunteers—like the ones shown here, who helped clean up Conimicut Point in Warwick earlier this summer—will make an impact on Narragansett Bay shorelines by uniting for Rhode Island’s 2021 International Coastal Cleanup initiative.

Those interested in joining a cleanup will find plenty of opportunities to help, as Save The Bay says that it has currently scheduled nearly 20 cleanups across the state on and around International Coastal Cleanup Day (September 18).

Save The Bay’s COVID-19 safety procedures require volunteers to register for cleanup events ahead of time; please visit volunteer.savebay.org to create an account and sign up.

Registration is open for the following cleanups:

     Saturday, Sept. 11
     Salter Grove, Warwick: 9-11 a.m.

     Saturday, Sept. 18
     Charlestown Breachway: 10 a.m.-noon
     Conimicut Point, Warwick: 10 a.m.-noon
     East Greenwich Boat Launch: 10 a.m.-noon
     Fields Point, Providence (Save The Bay Center): 10 a.m.-noon
     Oakland Beach, Warwick: 10 a.m.-noon
     Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett: 10 a.m.-noon
     Stillhouse Cove, Cranston: 10 a.m.-noon

     Sunday, Sept. 19
     Bold Point, East Providence: 10 a.m.-noon
     Compass Rose Beach, North Kingstown: 1-3 p.m.
     Potter Cove, Jamestown: 10 a.m.-noon

     Saturday, Sept. 25
     Audubon Nature Center & Aquarium (Jacob’s Point), Bristol: 8-10 a.m.
     Camp Cronin, Narragansett: 1-3 p.m.
     Salter Grove, Warwick: 9-11 a.m.

     Sunday, Sept. 26
     East Beach, Charlestown: 9-11 a.m.
     Sandy Point, Portsmouth: 10-11:30 a.m.

     Saturday, Oct. 2
     Salty Brine State Beach, Narragansett: 10 a.m.-noon

     Saturday, Oct. 3
     Fort Wetherill, Jamestown: 10 a.m.-noon

     Wednesday, Oct. 6
     Salter Grove, Warwick: 10 a.m.-noon

     Friday, Oct. 8
     Colt State Park, Bristol: 10 a.m.-noon

     Saturday, Oct. 16
     Fogland Beach, Tiverton: 10 a.m.-noon

International Coastal Cleanup participants contribute to the world’s largest database on marine debris by logging the trash they collect in Ocean Conservancy’s award-nominated Clean Swell app (available for free download from the App Store and Google Play). The app also makes it possible for individuals to support the effort independently, with their households, or with a small group of friends at favorite waterside spots, or even on neighborhood walks. More information about independent cleanups, including safety tips and guidelines, is also available at volunteer.savebay.org/international-coastal-cleanup.

The annual International Coastal Cleanup—organized globally by the Washington, D.C.-based Ocean Conservancy, and locally by Save The Bay—mobilizes volunteers to remove coastal debris from around the world while recording the amount, type and location of trash collected. The results are published in a global report that includes a state- and country-specific Ocean Trash Index. This data-rich report is a crucial reference for policymakers and environmental advocates around the world.

Every year, millions of tons of trash—including an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic waste—flows into the ocean, impacting more than 800 marine species and even entering the food chain. Over the last 35 years of the ICC, over 16.5 million volunteers have joined cleanup efforts big and small to remove 344 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide. In 2019, 2,807 volunteers collected and recorded 15,564 pounds of trash from Rhode Island shorelines. Top items included small pieces of plastic, foam and glass; cigarette butts; and food-related wrappers and containers.

“No matter where you are or the size of your cleanup, every piece of trash collected by ICC volunteers helps to stem the tide of plastic entering our ocean,” said Allison Schutes, director of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. “We’re excited to be able to come together for this year’s ICC, both through community cleanup events and small group cleanups; and we are so grateful for the efforts of Save The Bay and all Rhode Island volunteers in helping us achieve our shared vision for a cleaner, healthier ocean.”

For more information about the International Coastal Cleanup in Rhode Island, visit savebay.org/icc. For the most up-to-date list of Rhode Island International Coastal Cleanup events, visit Save The Bay’s volunteer portal at volunteer.savebay.org/international-coastal-cleanup. Teams interested in signing up, or those with questions about volunteer opportunities, should contact July Lewis directly at jlewis@savebay.org.

Rhode Island’s 2021 International Coastal Cleanup is supported by local businesses and corporations, including: Citizens Bank; Arbella Insurance Foundation; Rexel Energy Solutions; National Grid; Bank of America; MetLife; Waterson Terminal Services; UNFI; Conanicut Marine Services, Inc.; Fuss & O’Neill; Rhode Races & Events; Kate’s Real Food; WaterScents; Roy Carpenter’s Beach; Sunflower Design; Regency Plaza/Chestnut Hill Realty; Joseph W. Blaeser IV Agency; BETA Group, Inc.; and HomeLight.

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