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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Baker-Polito Administration Announces the 2022 COASTSWEEP Beach Cleanup Program

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that the 2022 COASTSWEEP beach cleanup program will officially kick off on Saturday, September 17, 2022, and members of the public are encouraged to volunteer at one of the many cleanup events planned along the coast this fall. Organized by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair’s (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), COASTWEEP cleanups will be held throughout the month of September and into early November. Since 1987, thousands of COASTSWEEP volunteers have removed hundreds of tons of marine debris and other trash from Massachusetts beaches, lakes, rivers and the seafloor.  

“Throughout the Commonwealth are incredible beaches, waterfronts, and shorelines that are enjoyed and appreciated by so many, and the COASTSWEEP program offers a great way for everyone to give back to these treasured natural resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “The Baker-Polito Administration encourages everyone to get out and get involved with a cleanup or gather some friends and organize your own this fall season.” 

COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup initiative that is organized by Ocean Conservancy and draws hundreds of thousands of volunteers to coastal cleanups in more than 150 countries worldwide. In addition to the important task of removing trash, COASTSWEEP volunteers record data about what they find. This information is entered into Ocean Conservancy’s international marine debris database, where it helps researchers and policymakers better understand the sources of global marine debris and develop solutions for prevention. 

“Since 1987, COASTSWEEP has been a partnership between CZM and the local beach cleanup coordinators who put so much energy into getting volunteers out there to clean up the shore,” said Coastal Zone Management Director Lisa Engler. “And all of this effort does more than beautify our beaches, it helps protect the public from hazardous materials like broken glass and helps protect wildlife from marine debris ingestion and entanglement.” 

From plastics as tiny as a grain of sand to items as large as abandoned cars, marine debris is more than an eyesore. Sea birds, seals and other animals can be harmed when they swallow or become entangled in these materials. Sea turtles are particularly vulnerable and can die after swallowing clear plastic bags, which look like their favorite food, jellyfish. Beachgoers can injure themselves on glass, wood or metal while walking on the sand or swimming off the coast, and boaters can find themselves stranded when propellers are jammed with fishing line or cooling intakes are clogged with plastic. And since much of the trash collected during COASTSWEEP comes from litter on our streets that washes into storm drains and out to the sea, proper trash disposal at all times is essential. 

A great way to get involved in COASTSWEEP is to organize a cleanup. All supplies (bags, gloves, data cards, pencils, etc.) are provided free of charge and cleanups can be scheduled at organizers’ convenience. Individuals can also volunteer at a scheduled cleanup. To join a cleanup or to organize one, please visit the COASTSWEEP website or email coastsweep@mass.gov. COASTSWEEP sponsors for 2022 are EEA, CZM, Ocean Conservancy, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Tronex, a personal protective equipment company that provided gloves for the cleanups. 

The Massachusetts Office Coastal Zone Management is the lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Through planning, technical and grant assistance and public information programs, CZM seeks to balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping coastal communities address the challenges of storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change; working with state, regional and federal partners to balance current and new uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and promoting sustainable economic development; and partnering with communities and other organizations to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.

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