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City seeking volunteers for annual Canal Cleanup Day set for Sunday

By Staff | Mar 12, 2009

A fleet of volunteers will take to Cape Coral’s canals and waterways Sunday to help clear trash and debris as part of the city’s 2nd Annual Canal Cleanup Day.
Kayakers, boaters and landlubbers will gather at a half dozen sites throughout the city to keep the Cape’s 400 miles of canals looking pristine.
Event coordinator and environmental biologist Kim Cressman said 125 people have already signed up to volunteer, besting last year’s total of 90. She hopes that translates to more than 2,500 pounds of debris — last year’s total — being removed.
“We’ve got 400 miles of canals in the city, it’s one of our prime assets. You want people to take pride in that,” Cressman said.
Beyond the impediment to enjoying the waterways that trash and debris can pose, the unwanted litter is hazardous to marine wildlife. Some scenarios are cliche, but invariably a threat, she said.
“There’s the classic bird getting its neck caught in one of those six-pack plastic rings and choking, sea turtles mistake plastic bags for shelter and suffocate, birds eating plastic bottle caps,” Cressman said.
Volunteers are needed by land as well as by sea to clean areas near water because, as Cressman said, “Everything that’s on land has the potential of finding its way to the water.”
Some of those things are typical — plastic bottles and styrofoam cups — while others border on the bizarre. Last year, volunteers found a television set, a bag of chicken and syringes.
Cressman said she realizes some of the trash can be dangerous and encourages volunteers not to pick up anything they do not feel comfortable removing.
The city will provide trash bags, gloves, nets and other materials, and sponsors will be donating door prizes and offering free food.
To get more information or to register for the event, call 574-0785.