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.
DNREC Public Affairs
Volunteers of all ages can help make a difference by participating in the 32nd annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, September 14, 2019. The clean-up will be from 9:00 a.m. to noon. In case of severe weather, the rain date will be Saturday, September 28.
The annual coastal cleanup is sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. It spans the First State’s 97-mile eastern coastline and includes river and ocean shorelines as well as wetland and watershed areas.
Online registration is now open. Volunteers and groups are encouraged to preregister now through through September 2, to ensure enough supplies are readied for each site.
For all volunteers aged 18 and younger, a parental consent form is required. Young volunteers will need a signed consent form, along with their registration, to participate.
In 2018, despite a weather-related delay, more than a thousand volunteers collected 2.7 tons of trash and recyclables from 42 sites along more than 68 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline.
Would you prefer to report your Coastal Cleanup finds on your smartphone instead of using a paper data card? This year, Delaware Coastal Cleanup volunteers at all sites statewide can download DNREC’s Coastal Cleanup app for Android or iPhone.
The app is available from Google Play or the Apple store – just look for the Survey 123 app, choose the Coastal Cleanup from the list, log in with a simple password from your site captain, and follow the directions to enter data into an online version of the old hard-copy data card.
No cell phone reception at your site? No problem – the app can save your data to send when you’re back in range.
If you are a volunteer and have questions about your site in the 2019 Coastal Cleanup, please contact the zone captain in your area:
Groups of 10 or more should contact their zone captain (if known) or Cleanup Coordinator Joanna Wilson by email or at 302.739.9902.
More than two dozen 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.
Delaware’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. Delaware’s cleanup is co-sponsored by Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing, which provides gloves, and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables. DNREC is responsible for organizing the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating all the data collected.