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Volunteers pick up trash during the 29th annual Coastal Cleanup at Bennett's Pier on Milford NeckVolunteer registration
now open for 2017 Coastal
Cleanup on Sept. 16

Trash on our beaches and in our waterways isn’t just unsightly – it’s also potentially dangerous to marine life and in some cases harmful to water quality. But you can help make a difference in Delaware by joining volunteers of all ages at the 30th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, which will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. In case of severe weather, rain date will be the following Saturday, Sept. 23.

Sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the cleanup spans the First State’s 97-mile eastern coastline and includes river and ocean shorelines as well as wetland and watershed areas. This year, more than 45 sites in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties are targeted. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to pre-register to help ensure that each site has enough supplies.

Click here to sign up for the 2012 Delaware Coastal CleanupRegister for the 2017 Delaware Coastal Cleanup
• View a list of this year's Coastal Cleanup Sites
• Map below of this year's Coastal Cleanup locations
• Introduction to Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup video 
• Required parental consent form (for participants under the age of 18)

For more information about your preferred site in the 2017 Coastal Cleanup, please contact the zone captain in your area:

- State Parks Statewide Zone Captain – Lee Temby, 302-644-5005
- State Wildlife Areas Zone Captain – Lynne Pusey, 302-422-1329
- Sussex Beach Sites Zone Captain – Jennifer Luoma, 302-739-9921
-  Kent County Bay Beach Sites Zone Captain – Colleen Holstein, 302-739-6377

To learn more about the coastal cleanup, please watch DNREC's YouTube Channel video Introduction to Delaware's Coastal Cleanup video. For general information on the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, please email coordinator Joanna Wilson or phone 302-739-9902.

Recycling Trash
The Coastal Cleanup’s recycling program will continue in 2017. Volunteers will be given black trash bags plus white, tan or clear bags for recyclables. The bags will then be placed in separate piles at each sites' designated trash pickup location.

Volunteers are asked to put only clean and intact recyclable glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers in the recyclable bags. If these containers are badly damaged or contain sand or other materials, they are not recyclable.

Beautifying the Bayshore
More than two dozen Coastal Cleanup sites are part of Delaware’s Bayshore, which encompasses the central part of the state’s shoreline east of Route 1, from New Castle and Delaware City in southern New Castle County to the Lewes/Cape Henlopen area of Sussex County. This unique region, with its quiet bay beaches, marshes, forests, wildlife areas and agricultural/residential lands, is the focus of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to conserving wildlife habitat, enhancing low-impact recreational opportunities and building strong communities through environmentally compatible economic development.

2016 Delaware Coastal Cleanup results
At last year’s Coastal Cleanup, 1,572 dedicated volunteers from civic organizations, youth groups, businesses and families collected 6 tons of trash from 45 sites along Delaware’s shorelines and tributaries. About one-quarter of that trash – mostly aluminum cans and plastic bottles – was recycled. Volunteers’ more unusual finds included a Walkman cassette player, a television, a set of pornographic DVDs, an air horn, pay stub, bowling pin, badminton shuttlecock, fake aquarium plants, peach basket, vampire teeth, book, candle, finger splint, tweezers, respirator, surgical mask, pacifiers, teething ring, selfie stick, dog crate, toothbrush, dental floss, mailbox, a U.S. Postal Service plastic bin, real estate sign, political sign, two file cabinet drawers, two full beer bottles and a volleyball-sized round metal weight, purpose unknown.

The Ocean Conservancy Connection
Delaware’s Cleanup is also part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines and lakes by volunteers. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world help each year to rid the environment of marine debris and collect detailed information on the types and quantities of refuse.

The types and quantities of trash collected are recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information for all of the cleanups held in the country and around the world. This information helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it.

A recent marine debris report released by the Ocean Conservancy found that general-source marine debris – trash that comes from both ocean- and land-based activities – increased across the United States by more than five percent each year. (This report can be seen at

The Ocean Conservancy supplies trash bags, data cards and brochures on marine debris. Delaware’s cleanup is co-sponsored by Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing, which provides gloves, and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables. DNREC is responsible for organizing the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating all the data collected.

 Mark your calendars for the 2017 Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 16!

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