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HomeNewsArchivesCoastweeks Beach Cleanups Begin Sept. 20

Coastweeks Beach Cleanups Begin Sept. 20

Sept 2, 2008 — Across the territory, residents are getting ready for the International Coastal Cleanup spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy. Locally referred to as Coastweeks, the annual three-week observance kicks off Sept. 20.
During Coastweeks cleanups, people scour the beaches for debris. Schools, groups and individuals participate. Organizers on all three islands are currently lining up participants. If you or you group would like to help, give them a call.
"We've had groups calling in," said Marcia Taylor, marine advisor at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Since debris is also found underwater, the St. Croix-based Taylor is looking for Scuba divers for underwater cleanups. The debris is counted and put into categories.
"It's a fun way to get together and help make the island cleaner and nicer," said Kristin Maize, program manager for the Friends of V.I. National Park.
The information gathered during Coastweeks also provides a picture of what debris lands on the territory's beaches and, in many cases, where it originates.
"Marine debris is very damaging to the environment," Taylor said.
Getting the debris off the beaches helps protect marine life and their habitats. Since people were responsible for the beach debris in the first place, it's up to them to remove it, Taylor said.
This year efforts will expand from just shorelines to guts, mangroves, wetlands and salt ponds, said Lihla Noori, Taylor's counterpart at UVI's St. Thomas campus. She anticipates that groups will clean the guts in Bovoni, Lerkenlund, Charlotte Amalie and Peterborg.
"All behavior on land goes directly to the ocean," Noori said.
Since many tourists visit the territory to explore its beaches and sea, Noori pointed out that it's important to keep those areas free of debris.
"The marine environment is the gem of the Virgin Islands and the reason why people come here," Noori said.
This is the International Year of the Reef, which has as its slogan, "The reef is closer than you think … every act counts." That slogan is particularly applicable to the Virgin Islands, Noori said.
In past years St. Thomas Coastweeks participants mainly came from the ranks of schools and non-profit groups, but Noori expects to expand the ranks of the volunteers to include businesses.
In 2007, a total of 378,192 people around the world cleaned up beaches. They picked up about 182 pounds of debris for each of the 33,000 miles of coastline cleaned. The total amount stood at six million pounds.
In 2007, volunteers found 237 ocean animals entangled in fishing line, plastic bags, six-pack holders and rope.
Across the Virgin Islands, 1,867 people participated in 2007. They picked up 19,087 pounds of debris along 65.2 miles of shoreline. On all three islands, more caps and lids were picked up than any other type of debris. That's just the tip of the garbage pile, though.
Volunteers found all types of debris, including 91 shotgun shells on St. Croix, 305 condoms on St. Thomas and 57 pieces of building materials on St. John.
Smokers on St. Thomas left 2,386 cigarettes or filters on the beach. This compares to 1,377 on St. Croix and 1,311 on St. John.
A total of 57 appliances turned up on St. Croix beaches. On St. Thomas the number stood at 25, but St. John had none.
The territory-wide event is supported by Friends of the Park, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, UVI's Marine Advisory Service, the Planning and Natural Resources Department's Coastal Zone Management Program, the Ocean Conservancy and the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
To volunteer, call Kristin Maize at 779-4940 on St. John, Marcia Taylor at 692-4046 on St. Croix or Lihla Noori at 693-1392 on St. Thomas.
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Sept 2, 2008 -- Across the territory, residents are getting ready for the International Coastal Cleanup spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy. Locally referred to as Coastweeks, the annual three-week observance kicks off Sept. 20.
During Coastweeks cleanups, people scour the beaches for debris. Schools, groups and individuals participate. Organizers on all three islands are currently lining up participants. If you or you group would like to help, give them a call.
"We've had groups calling in," said Marcia Taylor, marine advisor at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Since debris is also found underwater, the St. Croix-based Taylor is looking for Scuba divers for underwater cleanups. The debris is counted and put into categories.
"It's a fun way to get together and help make the island cleaner and nicer," said Kristin Maize, program manager for the Friends of V.I. National Park.
The information gathered during Coastweeks also provides a picture of what debris lands on the territory's beaches and, in many cases, where it originates.
"Marine debris is very damaging to the environment," Taylor said.
Getting the debris off the beaches helps protect marine life and their habitats. Since people were responsible for the beach debris in the first place, it's up to them to remove it, Taylor said.
This year efforts will expand from just shorelines to guts, mangroves, wetlands and salt ponds, said Lihla Noori, Taylor's counterpart at UVI's St. Thomas campus. She anticipates that groups will clean the guts in Bovoni, Lerkenlund, Charlotte Amalie and Peterborg.
"All behavior on land goes directly to the ocean," Noori said.
Since many tourists visit the territory to explore its beaches and sea, Noori pointed out that it's important to keep those areas free of debris.
"The marine environment is the gem of the Virgin Islands and the reason why people come here," Noori said.
This is the International Year of the Reef, which has as its slogan, "The reef is closer than you think ... every act counts." That slogan is particularly applicable to the Virgin Islands, Noori said.
In past years St. Thomas Coastweeks participants mainly came from the ranks of schools and non-profit groups, but Noori expects to expand the ranks of the volunteers to include businesses.
In 2007, a total of 378,192 people around the world cleaned up beaches. They picked up about 182 pounds of debris for each of the 33,000 miles of coastline cleaned. The total amount stood at six million pounds.
In 2007, volunteers found 237 ocean animals entangled in fishing line, plastic bags, six-pack holders and rope.
Across the Virgin Islands, 1,867 people participated in 2007. They picked up 19,087 pounds of debris along 65.2 miles of shoreline. On all three islands, more caps and lids were picked up than any other type of debris. That's just the tip of the garbage pile, though.
Volunteers found all types of debris, including 91 shotgun shells on St. Croix, 305 condoms on St. Thomas and 57 pieces of building materials on St. John.
Smokers on St. Thomas left 2,386 cigarettes or filters on the beach. This compares to 1,377 on St. Croix and 1,311 on St. John.
A total of 57 appliances turned up on St. Croix beaches. On St. Thomas the number stood at 25, but St. John had none.
The territory-wide event is supported by Friends of the Park, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, UVI's Marine Advisory Service, the Planning and Natural Resources Department's Coastal Zone Management Program, the Ocean Conservancy and the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
To volunteer, call Kristin Maize at 779-4940 on St. John, Marcia Taylor at 692-4046 on St. Croix or Lihla Noori at 693-1392 on St. Thomas.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.