Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Coastal Cleanups

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 1,026
2003    965
2004 1,137
2005    297
2006    551
2007    328
2008    509
2009    367
2010    963
2011    539
2012    266
2013    240
2014    388
2015    689
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
2013   27,638    8,756    18,882
2014   41,166  13,879    27,287
2015    71,606    6,517    65,089
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   97 42 55
2013 115 69 46
2014 106 51 65
2015 104 45 59
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
2013 1,554 1,958
2014 1,403 2,273
2015 1,512 1,929

WHAT are Coastal cleanups of Land-Based Marine DEBRIS?

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.

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 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.

 

 

DATA NOTE

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.

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Cleanup at Long Wharf Beach in New Haven.

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