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International Coastal Cleanup

*** Please note: This year’s Cleanup date September 16. Watch our Facebook page (Oak Island Beach Preservation Society) for information.

Each year BPS, with the cooperation of Oak Island departments of Parks & Recreation and Public Works, organizes community participation in the Ocean Conservancy’s annual coastal cleanup. The event brings together members, local groups and the public in a concentrated effort to remove debris from the beach, dunes and access areas.

Though many beachgoers collect beach trash year round as part of our environmental concern, this event is the time we count what we find and report it to the International Coastal Cleanup database. The community Beach Sweep matches the date of the International cleanup whenever possible.

In 2016, 76 adults and 41 children participated this year, cleaning almost 9 miles of beach! Our cleanup was conducted on September 17, with some participation in the weeks just before and after that date. Special assistance came from the American Heritage Girls of Southport, volunteers from Duke Energy, and 52 of our Adopt-a-Beach Access parents. Here is a sample of our top finds, compared to last year’s count.

The numbers show that Oak Island improved in the number of cigarette butts, plastic bags, cans and straws, with fewer than last year, but the numbers are still too high. Some problem items like food wrappers and tiny [less than one inch] plastic and foam bits increased. We have plenty of room for more improvement in preventing all categories of debris!

 Item 2015  2016
Cigarette butts 6457 4214
Food wrappers 883 1340
Tiny plastic pieces 1008 1297
Plastic bottle caps 542 575
Tiny foam pieces 322 521
Plastic bags  234 195
Beverage cans 363 128
Straws/stirrers 301 110