The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is hosting the 35th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at 41 sites statewide to help keep the state’s beaches and waterways free of trash. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the one-day coordinated event when online volunteer registration opens on Monday, Aug. 1.
In addition, Delawareans and visitors are invited to join the month-long campaign starting Sept. 1 to clean up neighborhoods, green spaces and waterways throughout the state on days, times and at locations of their choice. The coordinated event and month-long campaign support Governor John Carney’s Keep DE Litter Free initiative.
“In 2019, we launched the Keep DE Litter Free initiative with the goal of building stronger communities and working together to keep our state beautiful by keeping our coastlines and outdoor spaces clear of litter,” Governor Carney said. “I thank our other state and local partners who plan and support the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, and I encourage all Delawareans to participate on cleanup day – and all year round.”
“DNREC encourages all Delawareans and visitors to make time to help keep our beaches, waterways and wetlands clean and free of trash throughout the year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The Coastal Cleanup is a great reminder that volunteers of all ages can make a difference, whether they sign up for the Sept. 17 statewide cleanup event or choose their own time, date and place to pick up trash.”
For the Sept. 17 coordinated cleanup, volunteers should sign up by Wednesday, Aug. 31 for their choice of sites through the Coastal Cleanup page at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Site captains with supplies will be on site to sign in volunteers and provide trash bags and directions. Although gloves, paper data cards and pencils will be available upon request, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and to use the online Coastal Cleanup reporting tool, when it goes live Sept. 1, to share their findings. Walkups are not encouraged due to volunteer site capacity limitations.
Find ideas about how to get involved in the 2022 Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Facebook and Twitter. Volunteers in both the coordinated event on Sept. 17 and the month-long campaign can post photos on facebook.com/DelawareDNREC for a chance to win a 2023 Delaware State Parks pass and a prize bag. Volunteers can post photos as often as they like throughout the month, with each photo counting as a one entry. All volunteers should also report their findings and are invited to share photos through the Coastal Cleanup page. Results will be updated during all month long and will appear on an interactive map.
Last year, nearly 600 volunteers filled about 400 bags, cleaning up 5,500 pounds of trash from waterways, wetlands and other natural areas. The top five trash items collected were: 7,671 cigarette butts; 2,921 plastic and glass beverage bottles and cans; 1,785 food containers; 846 plastic bags; and 381 balloons.
Cleaning up locally makes a big difference statewide and keeps trash from entering waterways and making its way to beaches and beyond. DNREC suggests several ways to help make a difference all year long:
- Be proactive by picking up trash near your home to keep your neighborhood clean.
- Follow a carry-in/carry out plan and take all trash with you when visiting outdoor spaces, like Delaware State Parks, DNREC wildlife areas, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve locations, and county or local parks.
- Pack a bag and rubber gloves when you take a walk, go for a hike, go hunting or fishing, etc., to collect and carry out trash you find along the way.
- Recycle applicable items through in-home recycling or designated drop-off locations. Learn more at de.gov/recycling.
DNREC reminds everyone to wear gloves when picking up trash, wash hands thoroughly after cleanup activities, and follow all recent public area protocols, including the most current COVID-19 guidance.