Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cleaning up the New Hampshire Coastline with Girl Scouts Coastal Rompers

New Hampshire's Union Leader Correspondent reports that a group of Girl Scouts collected more than 430 pounds of trash along a short section of New Hampshire’s coastline. They joined hundreds of other volunteers Saturday for the annual N.H. Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation.

Cleanup was conducted at more than 25 sites along the coast and Great Bay. Volunteers not only cleaned the beach but also recorded their findings on data cards to help study marine pollution trends.

The 2010 cleanup in New Hampshire welcomed a record 1,316 volunteers, who collected about 6,489 pounds of trash. The No. 1 item collected each year is cigarette butts. Last year, 23,059 butts were collected, and Girl Scouts said it was definitely the most pervasive item they found this year as well.

The Blue Ocean Society was awarded a grant from the New Hampshire Coastal Program to coordinate the event in the state, with major sponsorship from Waste Management. It is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer, one-day event of its kind, started by the Ocean Conservancy 25 years ago. Neil Savage, a volunteer with the Girl Scouts Coastal Rompers program, referred to the trash as “animal-choking refuse.”

Mammals, birds and fish die every year from entanglement or ingestion of dangerous debris. Cleanups decrease the threat of debris to marine wild-life, by removing items such as fishing line, nets, plastic bags, balloons, ribbon and six-pack holders that are potentially fatal to wildlife when not disposed of properly. According to the Ocean Conservancy, 62 percent of debris collected comes from recreational activities on or near the water.

Do you have any examples of Girl Scouts helping the environment?