Make a World of Difference

Make a World of Difference

by July Lewis, internship and volunteer manager

Can you imagine 800,000 people picking up 20 million pieces of trash in one giant global beach cleanup? You don’t have to imagine it—you can be a part of it! This year’s International Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, September 15, and you can sign up to join it right here.

The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup is a simple but powerful concept: volunteers all over the world clean up the shore and record what they find. The resulting report is a key weapon in the global fight against the trash that is filling up our oceans. We use the report to raise awareness of the problem, to argue for better products and policies, and to find solutions.

Save The Bay is proud to coordinate the Rhode Island’s participation in the International Coastal Cleanup. Anyone can become a citizen scientist researching this issue. Here’s how to get involved!

Cleanup volunteers in Warwick.
Cleanup volunteers in Warwick.

Sign up for a Cleanup

As always, we have a list of cleanups to choose from on September 15, and anyone can sign up. Alternate dates are available throughout September and October if you can’t make it on the “big day.” This is a great activity for groups and families, so feel free to recruit others to come with you. No prep is needed—just bring yourself, some sturdy shoes and a reusable bottle of water to stay hydrated. We’ll provide the rest!

Cleanup Volunteers at Salty Brine State Beach
Cleanup Volunteers at Salty Brine State Beach

Lead a Cleanup

It’s easy to lead a cleanup! Your cleanup can be a big event or even small group of friends and family. It’s up to you! Step 1) Coordinate a date and location with me. Step 2) Pick up a Save The Bay cleanup kit. Step 3) On the day of your cleanup, give some easy instructions to your group and do the cleanup, gathering the trash together in a pile for pickup (I will arrange permission and disposal with the town or park). Step 4) Return the kit, and you’re done!

Sign up for cleanup leader training on Thursday, August 30, 6-7:30 PM at 100 Save The Bay Drive, Providence. If you need more details or information, contact me at jlewis@savebay.org.

Use the Clean Swell App

Photo of Clean Swell app on smartphones
Download the Clean Swell app to conduct your own beach cleanups and send your collection data to the Ocean Conservancy.

Download The Ocean Conservancy’s CleanSwell app, and you can do mini-cleanups wherever you go! Take a bag with you the next time you go to the shore and spend a few minutes cleaning up and recording what you find. Just tap the icons for straws, cigarette butts, food wrappers, etc. to keep track as you pick up. The app will automatically record your location, the distance you walked, the time you spent cleaning up, and the weight of your items. Hit submit and all the data goes to the Ocean Conservancy to be included in their database. You can even take a photo and post it to social media with your results!

JUST REMEMBER: Any cleanups of more than a few people, or where a large volume of trash is being picked up, must be arranged ahead of time with the park or the town. Don’t fill up the park’s trash barrel (if they have one) or leave bags on the curb – be prepared to take your trash home with you!

 

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? So please come out and join us for the International Coastal Cleanup, whether it’s joining a cleanup, leading a cleanup, or using the Clean Swell app. And please spread the word—every bit of trash we keep out of the Bay makes a difference!

*Please note:  Be sure to access the Johnson & Wales University Harborside Campus through the main entrance on Harborside Blvd. Your GPS may suggest taking Ernest Street to JWU’s Shipyard Street entrance, but that route requires a key card for entry.  

From Route I-95 North or South, take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue). Head downhill on Thurbers Avenue to US Route 1A (Allens Avenue). Turn right onto Allens Ave. Continue southbound on Allens Ave. into Cranston, where Allens Ave. becomes Narragansett Blvd. Turn left onto Harborside Blvd. at the traffic light by the Shell gas station. Follow Harborside Blvd. through the Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus. At the end of Harborside Blvd., turn right onto Save The Bay Drive. Save The Bay Drive becomes a circular, one-way roadway as you approach the Bay Center. Parking is available in four guest lots after you pass the main building. Enter the building through the main entrance.

Map