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V.I. Groups Poised for Massive Beach Cleanup

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Coastweeks, the annual cleanup of beaches and shorelines around the world; and across the territory, groups are organizing to do their part.
“People learn a lot from this,” said Marcia Taylor at UVI’s Marine Advisory Service on St. Croix.
Education about the problems caused by marine debris tops the list of Coastweeks benefits, but Taylor said that the data collected helps policy makers with their decisions.
Additionally, the beaches get cleaned up and the effort, formally called the International Coastal Cleanup, creates a feeling of stewardship for those involved.
Taylor has been organizing Coastweeks events for about 19 of the 20 years the annual event occurred in the territory.
“I do think we are making a difference, but there’s still a ways to go,” she said.
Last year, more than 1,500 V.I. volunteers cleaned up 37.2 miles of shoreline, picking up nearly 8.5 tons of debris.
Across the territory, bottle and cap lids were the most common item found. Plastic bags took second place, with plastic beverage bottles coming in third.
On St. Thomas, events kick off Sept. 25 with a cleanup of Brewer’s Bay Beach, which runs from 8 to 10 a.m.
The event’s sponsored by the advisory service, which is organizing all St. Thomas activities. UVI Marine Stewardship Coordinator Christine Settar said that participants will be supplied with water, trash bags, gloves and data cards.
“We’ll split into teams,” she said.
Any groups that want to clean up their favorite beach can call Settar to participate. She said she’s already signed up Eudora Kean High School, Montessori School, the environmental club at Gladys Abraham School, and a special education class at Charlotte Amalie High School.
Taylor said groups can sign up until the end of Coastweeks on Oct. 9.
“I need some lead time to get a bin to the site, but if you don’t need a bin and can haul away the debris yourself you can sign up at the last minute,” Taylor said, noting that the bins come from the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
Taylor’s lined up St. Croix events for Sept. 25 and 26.
On Sept. 25, from 8 a.m. to noon, about 130 Good Hope School students and parents will clean up around Salt River. Volunteers should meet at Columbus Landing.
On Sept. 26, the Hotel on the Cay and Dive Experience will do a cleanup on land and underwater on the island around the hotel. It runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Call Dive Experience to participate in the underwater cleanup.
The Friends of V.I. National Park on St. John will sponsor a cleanup of Drunk Bay on Sept. 25. Carpools leave at 8:30 a.m. from in front of the Friends’ store at Mongoose Junction Shopping Center. Otherwise, meet at the Salt Pond parking lot at 9 a.m. for the walk to Drunk Bay.
Friends Program Manager Audrey Penn said that the Friends always clean up Drunk Bay because its east-facing location means it collects a lot of debris.
“It gets cups from the Willie T,” she said, referring to the floating bar and restaurant anchored off Norman Island in the nearby British Virgin Islands.
Penn added that cups and bottles linked to cruise ships also wash up at Drunk Bay.
Last year, the Coastweeks cleanup crew found an empty 20-pound propane tank washed up on Drunk Bay.
“That’s the weirdest thing we ever got,” Penn said.
According to Penn, participants in this year’s Coastweeks will be asked to keep an eye out for oil spilled in the aftermath of this year’s explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig. While experts don’t think the oil will make it this far south, Penn said just in case it did, the volunteers will be on the alert.
Penn needs groups to adopt several areas. They are the underwater areas of Maho Bay and Cruz Bay, as well as Mennebeck Bay, East End Bay, Privateer Bay, Leduck Island, Flanagan Island, and Elk Bay.
She’s already signed up other St. John groups to clean up a beach or area during Coastweeks. They include Connections, St. John Brewers, Concordia Preserve, Elaine Estern, Fish Bay Home Owners, Fraser Drummond, Holiday Homes: Reef Bay and Genti Bay, Miles and Susan Stair, R&I Patton, Maho Bay Camps, St. John Land Sharks, Gifft Hill School, Guy Benjamin School, Julius E. Sprauve School, St. John Rotary, St. John Unitarians, St. John Yacht Club, St. John Film Society, Coral Bay Yacht Club and the Recycling Association of the Virgin Islands.
For more information, reach Settar at 693-1392, Penn at 779-4940, Taylor at 692-4046, or Dive Experience at 773-3307.

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of Coastweeks, the annual cleanup of beaches and shorelines around the world; and across the territory, groups are organizing to do their part.
“People learn a lot from this,” said Marcia Taylor at UVI's Marine Advisory Service on St. Croix.
Education about the problems caused by marine debris tops the list of Coastweeks benefits, but Taylor said that the data collected helps policy makers with their decisions.
Additionally, the beaches get cleaned up and the effort, formally called the International Coastal Cleanup, creates a feeling of stewardship for those involved.
Taylor has been organizing Coastweeks events for about 19 of the 20 years the annual event occurred in the territory.
“I do think we are making a difference, but there’s still a ways to go,” she said.
Last year, more than 1,500 V.I. volunteers cleaned up 37.2 miles of shoreline, picking up nearly 8.5 tons of debris.
Across the territory, bottle and cap lids were the most common item found. Plastic bags took second place, with plastic beverage bottles coming in third.
On St. Thomas, events kick off Sept. 25 with a cleanup of Brewer’s Bay Beach, which runs from 8 to 10 a.m.
The event's sponsored by the advisory service, which is organizing all St. Thomas activities. UVI Marine Stewardship Coordinator Christine Settar said that participants will be supplied with water, trash bags, gloves and data cards.
“We’ll split into teams,” she said.
Any groups that want to clean up their favorite beach can call Settar to participate. She said she’s already signed up Eudora Kean High School, Montessori School, the environmental club at Gladys Abraham School, and a special education class at Charlotte Amalie High School.
Taylor said groups can sign up until the end of Coastweeks on Oct. 9.
“I need some lead time to get a bin to the site, but if you don’t need a bin and can haul away the debris yourself you can sign up at the last minute,” Taylor said, noting that the bins come from the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
Taylor’s lined up St. Croix events for Sept. 25 and 26.
On Sept. 25, from 8 a.m. to noon, about 130 Good Hope School students and parents will clean up around Salt River. Volunteers should meet at Columbus Landing.
On Sept. 26, the Hotel on the Cay and Dive Experience will do a cleanup on land and underwater on the island around the hotel. It runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Call Dive Experience to participate in the underwater cleanup.
The Friends of V.I. National Park on St. John will sponsor a cleanup of Drunk Bay on Sept. 25. Carpools leave at 8:30 a.m. from in front of the Friends’ store at Mongoose Junction Shopping Center. Otherwise, meet at the Salt Pond parking lot at 9 a.m. for the walk to Drunk Bay.
Friends Program Manager Audrey Penn said that the Friends always clean up Drunk Bay because its east-facing location means it collects a lot of debris.
“It gets cups from the Willie T,” she said, referring to the floating bar and restaurant anchored off Norman Island in the nearby British Virgin Islands.
Penn added that cups and bottles linked to cruise ships also wash up at Drunk Bay.
Last year, the Coastweeks cleanup crew found an empty 20-pound propane tank washed up on Drunk Bay.
“That’s the weirdest thing we ever got,” Penn said.
According to Penn, participants in this year’s Coastweeks will be asked to keep an eye out for oil spilled in the aftermath of this year's explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig. While experts don’t think the oil will make it this far south, Penn said just in case it did, the volunteers will be on the alert.
Penn needs groups to adopt several areas. They are the underwater areas of Maho Bay and Cruz Bay, as well as Mennebeck Bay, East End Bay, Privateer Bay, Leduck Island, Flanagan Island, and Elk Bay.
She’s already signed up other St. John groups to clean up a beach or area during Coastweeks. They include Connections, St. John Brewers, Concordia Preserve, Elaine Estern, Fish Bay Home Owners, Fraser Drummond, Holiday Homes: Reef Bay and Genti Bay, Miles and Susan Stair, R&I Patton, Maho Bay Camps, St. John Land Sharks, Gifft Hill School, Guy Benjamin School, Julius E. Sprauve School, St. John Rotary, St. John Unitarians, St. John Yacht Club, St. John Film Society, Coral Bay Yacht Club and the Recycling Association of the Virgin Islands.
For more information, reach Settar at 693-1392, Penn at 779-4940, Taylor at 692-4046, or Dive Experience at 773-3307.