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International Coastal Cleanup postponed to Oct. 13

By Staff | Sep 12, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Outreach Coordinator Leigh Gay (far left) with volunteers at a recent Coastal Cleanup.

The International Coastal Cleanup, which is slated for Sept. 15, has been pushed back for Sanibel due to red tide conditions.

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Outreach Coordinator Leigh Gay said the International Coastal Cleanup has been postponed until Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon, due to the current red tide conditions. The event will take place on Causeway Island B, the island closest to Sanibel.

Gay said the museum likes to clean up the causeway because it is a public beach, a common place for families to visit.

“It’s a heavily used beach; that’s why we like to go there,” she said.

They will have the Shell Museum van parked close to the street to let people know where the clean up is located.

PHOTO PROVIDED The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum van will be parked along the road on Causeway Island B during the Saturday, Oct. 13 International Coastal Cleanup.

Ocean Conservancy collects the data from the cleanup, Keep Lee County Beautiful provides the water, data collection cards, bags for the trash, as well as gloves to protect individual’s hands, and the Shell Museum is the site leader for the event.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to register at klcb.org/coastalcleanup. Gay said it is important to sign up because Keep Lee County Beautiful will know how many supplies to provide them with.

Participants are asked to bring reusable water bottles, bug spray and sunscreen.

Individuals will receive data cards the day of the cleanup, so they can tally such items as cigarette butts when they pick them up.

“As you pick them up, you will tally them. I encourage people to come in groups of two. A data collector and another who holds the bag (of trash),” Gay said. “It almost becomes a contest to see who can find the most (trash). It’s actually pretty fun.”

Last year, International Coastal Cleanup, Gay said attracted about 20 people.

“We want to keep our beaches as clean as possible, so people can continue to enjoy them,” Gay said of why the museum participates.

She hopes by doing the cleanup, people will see trash and put it in the correct bins next time they are on the beach.

“Inspire them to pick up trash as well,” Gay said.

The common pieces of trash found on the causeway are bottle caps, straws and cigarette butts.

“You never know what you are going to find,” she said, adding the she has found such items as a dirty diaper and three pairs of shoes. “It’s pretty diverse as far as what you can find.”

According to Ocean Conservancy, the top 10 items collected for the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup were cigarette butts; food wrappers; plastic beverage bottles; plastic bottle cap; plastic grocery bags; other plastic bags; straws and stirrers; plastic take out/away containers; plastic lids and foam take out/away containers.

Ocean Conservancy stated that there was enough plastic beverage bottles to fill more than five standard swimming pools, enough straws to reach the height of more than 10,000 palm trees, enough cigarette butts to line the distance of five marathons, enough plastic bags to sew 5,461 sails and enough bottle caps to cover 645 surfboards.