Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators
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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 2021, 2,953 volunteers in 95 cleanups collected 12,606 pounds of debris along 216 miles of coastline, the equivalent of 191 pounds per mile. In 2020, the number of volunteers and cleanups were fewer than in previous years because of the Covid-19 pandemic; but now, in 2021, are comparable to previous years.