Since 1987, volunteers throughout Massachusetts have turned out for the annual COASTSWEEP cleanup organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). Each September and October, thousands of volunteers collect literally tons of trash from beaches, marshes, river banks and the seafloor. As part of COASTSWEEP Friends of Bass River and the Yarmouth Conservation Department are organizing the local cleanup in areas around the Bass River as well as Sound facing Beaches. We will gather at Bass River Beach at 9:00am to distribute supplies and break into small teams to visit several areas throughout town. We will then return with all the waste collected before noon. We are also looking for boaters willing to use their vessels to get to areas no accible by land.
COASTSWEEP participants join hundreds of thousands of other volunteers in the world’s largest volunteer effort for the ocean—Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup—collecting trash, fishing line and other marine debris and recording data on what they find. This data is used to find solutions for keeping trash out of the ocean.
To volunteer for the cleanup, please contact Ryan Mann at the Friends of Bass River at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelly Grant, Yarmouth Conservation Administrator at email@example.com. You can also simply show up on the day of the event although on the water volunteers should register ahead of time. Light refreshments will be available. A rain date will be Sunday, September 24th.
Sources of marine debris include people littering, trash blowing out of trash cans and cigarette butts washing into storm drains that connect to the ocean. Marine debris is more than an eyesore, it can also directly harm sea life and humans. Sea birds, seals and other animals can be choked, starved or poisoned when they mistake debris for food, and wildlife can become entangled in nets, bags, ropes and other trash. Beachgoers may injure themselves on pieces of glass, wood or metal while swimming or walking on the sand. Debris also poses a threat to navigation—propellers can become jammed with fishing line, boats can be damaged by colliding with large pieces of debris and plastic can clog cooling intakes. Because much of the trash collected each year comes from street litter, it is easily preventable by always using secure trash bins and recycling as much as possible.
Educate, collaborate and preserve are the three basic tenets of the Friends of Bass River. A detailed website has been launched as well as a presence on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, please visit www.friendsofbassriver.org .