Thousands of volunteers turned out today for the 29th Clean the Bay Day, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) annual shoreline and stream cleanup and one of the largest volunteer events in Virginia.
In just three hours today, an estimated 6,000 volunteers at 250 sites across the state, on foot and in boats, removed approximately 100,000 pounds of litter and debris along some 450 miles of shoreline.
“It is wonderful to see so many thousands of people from across Virginia come together to do their part for our waterways,” said CBF Clean the Bay Day Coordinator Tanner Council. “With everyone working together, in just a few hours we’ve put a massive dent in Virginia’s litter problem.”
As usual, the most common items found during today’s cleanup were plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts. Participants also found many strange items including a rusted out car, dishwasher and stove, a complete bed frame, several shopping carts, 40 cucumbers, a whole coconut, a mannequin head, a headless Barbie doll, an old cash register, a computer, a full gas can, multiple car batteries, a weed-eater, contact lenses in a case, a vintage pepper shaker, and a full bushel of crabs (no longer among the living).
Cleanups were held at scores of sites across Virginia, including Hampton Roads, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Richmond, Charlottesville, the Shenandoah Valley, and Northern Virginia. All of Virginia’s state parks within the Chesapeake Bay watershed offered cleanup sites. Overall, 17 cities and counties and 22 state parks throughout the state were represented at the event. Many partner groups also joined CBF.
Among the thousands of volunteers were elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Rep. Barbara Comstock, Rep. Scott Taylor, Rep. Rob Wittman, Sen. Adam Ebbin, Sen. Lynwood Lewis, Sen. David Marsden, Del. Cliff Hayes, Del. Stephen Heretick, Del. Rocky Holcomb, Del. Margaret Ransone, Del. Chris Stolle, and Del. Rick Sullivan. Many other local officials, service members, Scout groups, small businesses, large corporations, and thousands of citizens all took part.
Major corporate sponsors for Clean the Bay Day include CSX, Northrop-Grumman Corporation, and the Port of Virginia. CBF also received grant support from REI and River Network/Anheuser Bush, as well as additional support from Inside Business.
“Clean the Bay Day not only raises awareness, it also fosters a culture of taking care of our shared waterways,” CBF’s Council added. “Litter is one obvious threat to Virginia’s waters, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to clean up less noticeable sources of pollution. That’s why it is so important we stand behind the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the federal-state partnership to restore the Bay and its rivers.”
Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged approximately 152,000 volunteers to remove more than 6.4 million pounds of debris from more than 7,390 miles of shoreline.