2008-02-22 / Community

Beach Cleanup Reveals Thousands Of Discarded Items

The American Littoral Society has announced that in the 2007 New York Beach Cleanup, a part of the International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers documented that beverage containers were the most frequently found items of debris on the beach.

The tally included: 24,662 plastic bottles 16,344 glass bottles

15,750 aluminum cans

The next most frequently found items of debris were cigarette butts at 48,173, officials said.

Two-thirds of these containers once held non-carbonated beverages, the type not currently covered by New York's bottle deposit law. The ratio of no-deposit containers to deposit containers found had been two-to-one according to surveys by the Littoral Society, Scenic Hudson, and New York Public Interest Research Group.

For six years, the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society has been advocating for legislation that would add the nickel deposit to containers for iced tea, water, juice and sports drinks, as well as require unredeemed deposits to be turned over to the state instead of being held by the beverage bottlers and distributors. Known as the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, the legislation has been perennially stalled in the state senate by Majority Leader Joe Bruno. But as Barbara Toborg was quoted: "If the Giants can win the Super Bowl, we can get the bottle bill passed!"

Toborg encouraged all to call their state legislators and ask for their support of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, which has been included in Governor Eliot Spitzer's budget.

Other debris items in the top ten included:

33,438 food wrappers/containers 31,943 caps/lids

21,067 bags

17,587 cups, plates, plastic utensils.

10,927 clothing/shoes

The American Littoral Society has organized the New York Beach Cleanup since 1986. In 2007, 8400 volunteers at 285 sites documented and removed 143,000 pounds of debris. The debris information is used to evaluate existing pollution abatement programs and to develop new policies to control debris in order to protect the health and safety of humans and marine life. The annual cleanup also raises the public's consciousness of the state of our shorelines and generates important data that show trends in pollution.

For further information about the September 20, 2008 NY Beach Cleanup, locals are urged to contact Barbara Cohen, Beach Cleanup Coordinator, at alsbeach@aol.com (718) 471-2166 or call the BEACH CLEANUP HOTLINE (800) 449- 0790. In September, cleanup sites will be listed on the Littoral Society website: www.alsnyc.org.

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