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People enjoying Nokomis Beach in Sarasota County.

Create your own “Coastal Cleanup” event

In a normal year, this post would be a highlight of the scope and scale of work completed by volunteers during the International Coastal Cleanup, originally scheduled for this past weekend. We’d laud the number of volunteers who turned out locally and around the world, the tons of trash they scooped off the beaches and waterfront, and the miles of coastline they helped to clean.

In this world of the new “normal,” though, COVID-related restrictions on large gatherings forced organizers to postpone the event.

a young girl picks up plastic trash along a Sarasota County beach

A young girl picks up plastic trash along a Sarasota County beach. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County]

That’s a big blow to beaches and marine ecosystems everywhere. Since launching in 1986, the International Coastal Cleanup has drawn more than 12 million volunteers to help clear out more than 220 million pounds of trash from shorelines around the world, according to Ocean Conservancy, the non-profit organization behind the event.

But, you still have opportunities to get out to your nearest beach or shoreline and help out.

You can start by organizing (or joining) a local cleanup, with these simple steps:

  1. Round up some friends
  2. Find a beach near you
  3. Go to the Coastal Cleanup “Start an Event” website
  4. Download the Clean Swell app
  5. Grab a few trash bags, grabbers, and gloves
  6. Clean your beach
  7. Post your impacts on social media with the #CleanOn tag

And if you need more incentive, learn about the array of positive impacts that beach cleanup events have around the globe, in a 2020 report produced by Ocean Conservancy.

Keep Sarasota County Beautiful has also posted their new date for the Great American Cleanup: Saturday, October 17th.

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