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Delaware Coastal Cleanup

Trash on our beaches and in our waterways isn’t just unsightly – it’s also potentially dangerous to marine life and in some cases harmful to water quality. The annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup offers volunteers an opportunity to help make a difference for Delaware’s shoreline and waterways while joining an international effort to clean up the world’s waters.

2021 Delaware Coastal Cleanup

The 34th Delaware Coastal Cleanup offers two options for volunteers: a one-day event on Sept. 11 and a month-long campaign to clean up areas close to home.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a preregistered cleanup event at 39 sites statewide from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 11. Registration for this one-day cleanup event is closed.

During the month of September, Delawareans and visitors are also encouraged to make a special effort to keep communities and natural areas in the First State clean in support of the Governor’s Keep DE Litter Free initiative.

For more information, please contact Joanna Wilson, of DNREC Public Affairs.

Read about the volunteers and some of what they found in 2020.

Make a Difference All Year Long

Pick up trash near your home — streets, roadways, natural areas and open spaces — to keep your neighborhood clean.

Follow a carry-in/carry out plan and take all trash away with you after visiting outdoor public spaces, like Delaware State Parks, fishing and boating piers and ramps, wildlife areas, reserves, county or local parks.

Pack a disposable bag and rubber gloves when you take a walk or hike, go hunting or fishing, etc., to collect and carry out trash you find along the way.

Recycle what you can through in-home recycling or designated drop-off locations. Learn more at Delaware Recycles.

A view of the beach at Cape Henlopen

Beautifying the Bayshore

More than two dozen past Coastal Cleanup sites are part of Delaware’s Bayshore, which encompasses the central part of the state’s shoreline east of Route 1, from New Castle and Delaware City in southern New Castle County to the Lewes/Cape Henlopen area of Sussex County.

This unique region, with its quiet bay beaches, marshes, forests, wildlife areas and agricultural/residential lands, is the focus of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to conserving wildlife habitat, enhancing low-impact recreational opportunities and building strong communities through environmentally compatible economic development.

The Ocean Conservancy Connection

A group of volunteers collects trash along the Delaware RiverDelaware’s Cleanup is also part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines and lakes by volunteers. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world help each year to rid the environment of marine debris and collect detailed information on the types and quantities of refuse.

The types and quantities of trash collected are recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information for all of the cleanups held in the country and around the world. This information helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it.

A recent marine debris report released by the Ocean Conservancy found that general-source marine debris – trash that comes from both ocean- and land-based activities – increased across the United States by more than five percent each year. (This report can be seen at www.oceanconservancy.org)

The Ocean Conservancy supplies trash bags, data cards and brochures on marine debris. DNREC organizes the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating all the data collected.

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