First Hempstead Harbor-Wide Coastal Cleanup A Success

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    Volunteers picking up trash and logging items. (Contributed photos)

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, over 115 volunteers participated in the first-ever Hempstead Harbor-wide coastal cleanup, removing 375 pounds of debris from over a mile of shoreline. A variety of debris was collected including the most commonly found items in New York State and the top of the “Dirty Dozen” list— 1,233 plastic pieces, 876 cigarette butts, 638 bottle caps, and 634 food wrappers.

    With the approval of each municipality, events were held at all publicly accessible Hempstead Harbor beaches. The sites included Town of North Hempstead Beach Park, Tappen Beach, Sea Cliff Beach, and Morgan Park Beach.

    Coordinated locally by the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor (CSHH), the effort was part of the International Coastal Cleanup, an annual event sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy and the American Littoral Society.

    “The Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor (CSHH) is appreciative that events like this one require supportive leadership at the municipal level,” said Lisa Cashman, Associate Director for CSHH. “We are grateful to have received this support and especially the deliberate efforts of all the volunteers who gave their time this weekend to clean our shared natural resource of Hempstead Harbor.”

     

    The litter sorting process.

    Now in its 37th year, the International Coastal Cleanup is more than just an attempt to clean beaches and waterways. Volunteers from around the world who participate in the cleanup also contribute to a massive data-collection effort by cataloging the type, amount, weight, and location of the debris. The information is then sent to Ocean Conservancy, entered into a database, and analyzed to track trends in pollution, educate the public, and inform long-term solutions for marine debris and its environmental effects.

    Participants worked in teams at each of the sites with data collection coordinated by trained volunteers and CSHH staff. The Town of North Hempstead Beach Park was captained by members of Transition Town Port Washington, Tappen Beach was captained by dedicated community members, Sea Cliff Beach was captained by the Sea Cliff Environmental Conservation Commission, and Morgan Park Beach, were captained by Congregation Tifereth Israel.

    Representatives from Volunteers for Wildlife were at two of the sites exhibiting diamondback terrapins, and helped to educate participants about the threat coastal debris poses to local wildlife.

    About Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor (CSHH): Since its founding over 35 years ago, CSHH’s mission has been to identify and eliminate environmental threats in and around Hempstead Harbor. Our objective is to advance the public interest in restoring the harbor to its full ecological potential and to promote sustainable practices that will ensure the protection and resiliency of Hempstead Harbor and surrounding communities.

    —Submitted by Coalition to Save
    Hempstead Harbor with additional
    reporting by Julie Prisco

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