Cape Cod COASTSWEEP Cleanups Set for the Fall

PROVINCETOWN – An effort is once again underway to clean up beaches across Cape Cod.

The statewide COASTSWEEP will see thousands of volunteers remove tons of marine debris and trash from beaches, lakes, rivers and the ocean floor through early November.

Cleanups on Cape Cod kicked off Sunday at Long Point Beach in Provincetown.

COASTSWEEP Coordinator Robin Lacey says the goal of the program is to make residents aware of the problem of marine debris on our beaches.

“Trash winds up getting into our oceans or people leave it on the beach after a day at the beach and it makes an ugly sight on our beaches and can actually harm animals in the ocean,” Lacey said.

Small pieces of plastic in the water can appear to be food for marine animals.

“They eat it and it’s obviously not giving them any nutrition whatsoever and their gut can fill up with these pieces of plastic and whatnot and their nutritionally deprived because of that,” Lacey said.

Marine animals like fish, turtles and birds can also get caught in plastic bags or six-pack rings, along with discarded fishing gear.

The COASTSWEEP cleanups also spread awareness of how these materials can get in the water or on the beach.

“A lot of times it’s not just people leaving stuff on the beach. It’s the litter that gets washed down into the storm drain after it rains and then winds up in the ocean and then washing up on another beach,” Lacey said.

Lacey said the cleanups are also a great way to enjoy a nice day at the beach.

Volunteers are paired up with one person picking up trash and the other is marking down what items are collected.

“The Ocean Conservancy down in Washington D.C. keeps track of all the trash that gets picked up worldwide by millions of volunteers each year so they can try and track trends and figure out where things may be coming from,” he said.

Volunteers are not expected to pick up heavy items.

“A lot of kids get involved too,” Lacey said. “It’s certainly something for the whole family.”

A list of Cape Cod cleanups can be found below. For cleanups on the Islands and the south shore click here.

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