Cape Abilities Participants Volunteer For COASTSWEEP 2015

Filed in Blog, Community Partners, Events, Life Skills, Volunteers by on October 6, 2015

sweep-banner2-463x115Just imagine what our beautiful Cape Cod coastlines would look like if it were not for community volunteers who, every year, take the time to clean-up tons of debris and trash that is left behind on our beaches and their surrounding properties.

This year, hundreds of dedicated volunteers, including participants from Cape Abilities’ Life Skills program, took part in COASTSWEEP, an annual nation-wide awareness event where volunteer teams clean our shorelines, beaches, rivers and marshes to make these areas safer for both people and marine animals.  Our team joined this powerful volunteer movement, tackling the clean-up efforts at Barnstable Harbor Marina, on October 8th.

“We’re helping keep our beaches clean,” says Tony, a Cape Abilities participant who volunteered for this clean-up. “It makes me happy that we’re helping the environment. And people will like what we’re doing. “

Kristen, also a Cape Abilities participant and COASTSWEEP volunteer, notes that this effort is a way of giving back to the Cape Cod community.  “It feels good,” she said.  “We’re taking care of our own backyard.  Taking care of the Cape.  And this shows that we really care about our community.”

“Cape Abilities’ efforts will help to keep parking lot litter from getting into the harbor,” notes Fred Stepanis, COASTSWEEP coordinator for the Town of Barnstable. “This will improve the water quality, protect marine wildlife, and make the harbor safer and more beautiful for all who use it. I hope Cape Abilities will make this an annual event!”

COASTSWEEP 2 Collage____________________________________________________________________________

czmIn Massachusetts, COASTSWEEP volunteers have been pitching in to clean up stretches of beaches, marshes, seafloor, and riverbanks since 1987. This Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) event began with 391 volunteers who collected almost two tons of debris along 40 miles of coastline. In 2014, almost 3,000 volunteers cleaned 136 miles of coastlines, collecting six tons of debris from 94 locations.

Cape Abilities is proud to take part in this year’s COASTSWEEP on Cape Cod.  For more information about the event, and how you can volunteer to help year-round, please FOLLOW THIS LINK to visit the official COASTSWEEP website.

According to the CZM, more than half of the debris recovered comes from land-based sources when litter is blown or washed directly into the ocean or into rivers, streams, and storm drains that run to the sea. And that translates into thousands of tons of trash littering the world’s oceans and beaches.

Here’s a list of the top 10 items found along the Massachusetts coast in 2014 of the typical types of debris commonly collected during COASTSWEEP.

Top Ten Debris Items for 2014

Rank Debris Item Amount
1 Cigarettes/Cigarette Filters 38,299
2 Plastic Pieces 15,767
3 Food Wrappers and Containers 10,336
4 Foam Pieces 8,155
5 Bottle Caps (plastic) 7,846
6 Glass Pieces 7,581
7 Beverage Bottles (plastic) 5,879
8 Straws/Stirrers 3,619
9 Beverage Cans 3,314
10 Bottle Caps (metal) 2,832


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