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Help clean up our waterways at annual event - August 30, 2012

This year marks the Ocean Conservancy's 27th annual International Coastal Cleanup, taking place Sept. 15, and they are asking volunteers around the world to pledge to "Take on the Trash."

Those who pledge will help build the collective movement for Trash Free Seas -- both by reducing their own trash impact and helping clean up what's already out there.

Last year, 598,076 people picked up 9,184,427 pounds of trash along 20,775 miles of coastlines.

Over the past 26 years, more than nine million volunteers have removed over 153 million pounds of trash from 312,290 miles of coastline and waterways in 153 countries and locations.

Volunteers found:

» Enough clothing (266,997 items) to outfit every expected audience member of the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.

» Enough food packaging (940,277 pieces) to get takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next 858 years.

» Enough light bulbs (24,384 bulbs) to replace every light on the Eiffel Tower.

» Enough beverage cans and glass beverage containers that, if recycled, would net $45,489.15.

In the past 26 years of cleanups, volunteers found:

» 55 million cigarettes butts, which if stacked vertically, would be as tall as 3,613 Empire State buildings.

» Enough glass and plastic bottles to provide every resident of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia a cold beverage on a hot summer day.

» Enough appliances (125,156) to fill 37,434 single-axle dump trucks.

» More than 870,000 diapers -- enough to put one on every child born in the UK last year.

» Enough cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons to host a picnic for 2.15 million people!

Thanks to Delmarva Power's involvement in engaging environmental, governmental and business organizations in this region, volunteers in more than 50 locations throughout Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey will participate in this event. The annual cleanup in this area started in Delaware 26 years ago.

Maryland Coastal Bays and the Ocean City Surfriders have been a part of this cleanup since its inception in an effort to turn the tide against trash in our waterways. Last year's regional effort resulted in 2,700 volunteers collecting an estimated 31,000 pounds of trash. Unusual items collected included a BMX bicycle, woman's wig, flag pole, car bumper, keyboard, rain gutter and a kitchen countertop. Typical items found included cigar and cigarette butts, beverage containers, plastic bags and balloons with attached strings or ribbons. Balloons, strings and ribbons pose a serious health threat to animals and aquatic life, which can mistake balloons for food and become entangled in the strings and ribbons.

Every year this cleanup grows, so help expand this effort by participating in this annual coastal cleanup. There are two events on the 15th in this immediate area. One cleanup is at the Assateague Island National Seashore Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the other will be hosted in Ocean City beginning at 10 a.m.

The event in Assateague event usually lasts until 11 a.m. Then following the cleanup is the annual Maryland Coast Day event, which is located at the Assateague Island State Park and is scheduled from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It is a good way to celebrate the wildlife, culture and natural resources of Maryland's coastal region and it's free family fun. There will also be children's events, touch tanks, local vendors, artisans and local food, and it attracts more than 3,000 visitors each year.

The event in Ocean City is at the City Hall on Third Street. From there you'll receive trash bags, latex gloves, tally sheet and of course a T-shirt. This event usually lasts until noon where everyone will then meet at a local restaurant (TBA) at the site to return tally cards. Participants are asked to bring their most unusual find for prizes.

If you would like to participate in the cleanup at Assateague, contact Jim Rapp at 410-629-1538 and if you would like to participate in Ocean City, contact Sandi Smith at 410-213-2297, ext. 107 or you can sign up online at http://signup

Results from this cleanup will be posted on the website. 

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