Juneau groups partner to celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

JUNEAU - Three Juneau nonprofits are teaming with the Alaskan Brewing Co. to clean Juneau beaches from 9 a.m. to noon on International Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, Sept. 15, and they're asking Juneau residents to join them to leave our beaches cleaner and safer for fish, seabirds and other wildlife.

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Volunteers can pick up trash bags, rubber gloves, data cards and instructions at the Alaskan and Proud market parking lot, downtown, or in front of the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library, in the Mendenhall valley. Beaches will be cleaned from 10 a.m. to noon. Filled bags will be dropped off at select locations for later disposal. The cleanup will be followed by a "No-Trash-Bash" at the Sandy Beach shelter at noon. In order to make this event as trash free and "green" as possible volunteers are asked to bring their own non-disposable plates, utensils and napkins. Hot dogs and free beer will be provided.

"Juneau residents depend on the water for work and play," said organizer Cachet Garrett of Turning the Tides. "The International Coastal Cleanup day is an opportunity to leave our beaches and waterways cleaner."

The three groups, Turning the Tides, the Juneau Watershed Partnership and the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation and the Alaskan Brewing Co. are all involved in various aspects of ocean and watershed cleanup and protection.

Turning the Tides is working to raise awareness about the importance of the ocean; ways that people are impacting our waters and to promote ocean friendly technologies and alternatives to plastics.

The Juneau Watershed Partnership promotes watershed stewardship and integrity within the City and Borough of Juneau.

The MCA Foundation was formed by the commercial fishing industry and coordinates marine debris cleanups throughout the state that removed over 100 tons of trash from Alaska's coastline this year.

The Alaskan Brewing Company recently announced the creation of the Coastal CODE (Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone) and has dedicated a portion of its proceeds from the sale of its Alaskan IPA to support cleanups and related efforts in Alaska and other west coast states.

"With so many groups and people working toward the same goal, it's natural to join forces to tackle this problem and the International Coastal Cleanup day is an opportunity to join others around the world in demonstrating stewardship of our waters," Garrett said.

Sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the International Coastal Cleanup attracted 350,000 people in 66 countries last year. During the one-day cleanup they removed 7 million pounds of trash from over 31,000 miles of beach. Just over half the participants came from the United States and collected over 4 million pounds of trash.

Most of the trash was related to shoreside recreation and consisted of materials such as food packaging and plastic bottles. The number one item removed from the beach was smoking related - 1.9 million cigarette butts were picked up from beaches around the world last year.

"Getting good statistics about the composition of trash is important to knowing where it comes from," Garrett said. "That's why we ask volunteers to fill out a simple data card that describes what they're finding on the beach."

"We're targeting 12 beaches from Douglas Island to Echo Cove to Thane," Garrett said. "Crews from the four sponsoring organizations and from NOAA, the Friends of Recycling, the US Coast Guard, the Unitarians, the Audubon Society and ORCA have volunteered to clean these beaches. We're inviting the general public to cleanup Sandy Beach and Eagle Beach. Volunteers can come to either Alaskan and Proud or the University of Alaska Southeast at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, to sign up."

"The good news is that most Juneau residents take good care of our shoreline but accidents happen and litter still gets into our waterways," Garrett added. "After a summer of enjoying Juneau's wonderful marine environment, International Coastal Cleanup day is an opportunity to leave our waters cleaner for our future enjoyment and safer for fish, wildlife and marine mammals."

For more information or to sign up for the cleanup, e-mail internationalcoastalcleanup@gmail.com or call Beverly Anderson at the Juneau Watershed Partnership at 586-6853.

The sponsoring groups for this year's cleanup Turning the Tides, Juneau Watershed Partnership, MCA Foundation, the Alaskan Brewing Co., and The Ocean Conservancy.

• Bob King is the marine debris coordinator for the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation and a Juneau resident.

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