American Littoral Society and Save the Sound
|Pounds of Debris Collected per Mile of Beach|
|Total Pounds of Debris Collected|
|Miles of Beach|
|Number of Volunteers|
Land-based Marine 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. This dataset reflects the cleanups in September and October reported to the Ocean Conservancy for International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day.
This indicator reflects continued volunteer interest in cleaning up the Long Island Sound shoreline.
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 2015, 3,302 volunteers picked up 71,606 pounds of debris along 104 miles of coastline, the equivalent of 689 pounds per mile. The New York collection included 14,516 cigarette butts, 4,585 plastic bottles, 9,994 food wrappers, 2,702 glass bottles, and 1,618 plastic contains. New York total of pounds of debris collected increased from 2014 (see data note). In 2015, Connecticut’s total declined, in part because five beach captains did not report their totals and there was not a cleanup at the Scantic River where volunteers picked up 5,000 pounds of debris in 2014.
The Source to Sea Cleanup is a yearly trash cleanup of the Connecticut River and its tributaries in the four-state river basin (NH, VT, MA, CT). In Sept. 25 and 26, 2015, 2,296 volunteers working in 141 cleanup groups picked up 50 tons of trash, including 10,674 beverage containers and 1,437 tires, along 169 miles of river bank.
In 2014, more than 35 percent of the 41,166 pounds of debris that were removed occurred at three sites−Stelhi Beach and Center Island Beach in Oyster Bay, New York, and the Scantic River in Connecticut. Volunteers collected 5,000 pounds at each of the sites.In addition, at Theodore Roosevelt/Beekman Beach in Oyster Bay 20 pounds of debris were removed from two miles of underwater sites, and 19,500 pounds of very large debris, including a floating dock, were pulled from the water. These water-based collections were not counted in the indicator that year.
In most years the collection of heavy water-based debris, including boats, docks, and boat parts are counted as a separate watercraft category and are not included in the shoreline cleanup indicator. However, in 2010 and 2015, Oyster Bay did include those collections in its reporting, which explains larger than usual totals. In 2010, Oyster Bay collected 48,500 pounds compared to the previous year of 1,500 pounds, and in 2015, Oyster Bay collected over 41,000 pounds compared to the previous year of 10,600 pounds. In Connecticut in 2015, five beach captains did not report their totals to the International Coastal Cleanup program. In 2014, 19,500 pounds of water-based collections, including a floating dock pulled from the water, from Theodore Roosevelt Beach were not counted in the Marine Debris cleanup indicator.