Photos of the Long Island Sound

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Type of Indicators: Health/Condition Response/Performance Socio-Economic Historical/Background

Beach Debris Collected

  • Pounds/Mile of Beach
  • Total Pounds
  • Miles of Beach
  • Number of Volunteers

Source: American Littoral Society and Save the Sound

Pounds of Debris Collected per Mile of Beach
LIS
1998 400
1999 413
2000 578
2001 487
2002 1026
2003 965
2004 1137
2005 297
2006 551
2007 328
2008 509
2009 367
2010 963
2011 539
2012  267
Total Pounds of Debris Collected
LIS CT NY
1998 42,846
1999 35,217
2000 62,967
2001 42,400
2002 82,111
2003 111,949
2004 78,419
2005 42,020
2006 82,088
2007 46,098
2008 82,337
2009 49,500 13,500 36,000
2010 130,064 15,637 114,427
2011 53,345 21,285 31,060
2012 25,832 10,352 15,480
Miles of Beach
LIS CT NY
1998 107
1999 85
2000 109
2001 87
2002 80
2003 116
2004 69
2005 141
2006 149
2007 141
2008 162
2009 135 52 83
2010 135 56 79
2011 99 41 58
2012 96.8 41.8 55
Number of Volunteers
CT NY
1998 753 2,685
1999 598 1,556
2000 478 2,498
2001 331 1,629
2002 490 2,009
2003 735 2,632
2004 411 1,178
2005 884 1,901
2006 957 2,968
2007 1,351 2,183
2008 1,708 2,341
2009 2,100 2,641
2010 2,118 2,733
2011 1,873 1,537
2012 1,773 1,612

What is beach debris collected?

Beach Debris is any trash found on a shoreline, including trash that was originally deposited in upland areas or offshore. Debris is collected during several volunteer-driven beach clean-up days throughout the year on Long Island Sound’s coast.

What does this indicate?

This indicator reflects continued volunteer interest in cleaning up the Long Island Sound shoreline.

Status

The MARPOL treaty of 1988 made ocean dumping illegal. But garbage continues to collect on the coast, including the Sound’s 600 miles of shoreline. While some of this debris is still dumped from vessels, most of the garbage comes from the streets in our communities. This trash gets washed into the Sound as stormwater runoff. The success of Long Island Sound Coastal Cleanups, held on weekends in September and early October in the Sound as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, is evidence that community residents are willing to volunteer in large numbers to help clean up a persistent problem. In 2011, 3,410  volunteers removed 53,345 pounds of debris along 99 miles of shoreline, an average of 963 pounds of debris per mile. In New York, the types of debris collected included 17,655 cigarette tips, More than 30,000 cigarette butts, 18,056 food wrappers and containers,  and 15,090 plastic bags.

data note

In 2010, a  volunteer effort to collect a large amount of building debris and other large debris found along the coast in Oyster Bay that year helped contributed to a larger than normal coastal debris cleanupfor the Sound. Volunteers in Oyster Bay picked up 48,500 pounds of debris compared to 1,500 pounds the previous year.

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Cleanup at Long Wharf Beach in New Haven.

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