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
Read about the volunteers and some of what they found.
Details for the 2021 Delaware Coastal Cleanup will be announced on this page during the summer of 2021.
To make Coastal Cleanup accessible and safe for everyone during the pandemic, the effort transitioned to a month-long virtual coastal cleanup campaign during September 2020. Volunteers cleared trash from their neighborhoods and nearby parks, from beaches and along waterways to help Keep DE Litter Free.
They documented their findings and shared photos in a new online volunteer survey that populated a live cleanup dashboard so anytime, anywhere users could all see the impact the effort had on making our ocean and waterways cleaner and healthier.
There are many ways to make a difference all year long:
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.
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. DNREC organizes the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating all the data collected.