Aug. 21, 2006 – Coastweeks returns in mid-September, and the Friends of V.I. National Park needs volunteers to help clean up the island's beaches.
Friends program manager Kristen Maize said it was a great way for the community to get together. "You actually see tangible results," she said Monday. "And it's important to remove debris," she said.
Maize said it was also important to identify the debris so steps can be taken to eliminate it.
Coastweeks participants may join the Friends cleanup on Sept. 16, put together their own group or adopt a beach for cleanup throughout the year.
Maize said she will put people with a favorite beach in touch with a group that has adopted a beach.
She said people can let her know as late as Sept. 15 if they plan a cleanup, but if they want the National Park crew to pick up the garbage gathered within park boundaries, they must let her know a week in advance.
Maize said the Friends group will provide trash bags, gloves, tools and other supplies for the cleanups.
Last year across the territory, 674 people collected over five tons of trash from 42 beaches. Plastic beverage bottles were the most common item found on all three islands, with the total reaching 4,444 bottles.
Coastweeks is an annual event observed in nearly 100 countries. Sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, the three-week event is called the International Coastal Cleanup in other locations. It began in 1986 with a beach cleanup in Texas.
While Sept. 16 is known as Coastweeks Day, groups also organize beach cleanups in the weeks surrounding that date.
To sign up yourself or your group, call Maize at 779-4940.
On St. Thomas, call Lillian Moolenaar at Planning and Natural Resources or Elizabeth Ban at the University of the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service for information about that island's Coastweeks programs. Moolenaar's number is 774-3320, extension 5117. Reach Ban at 693-1392.
On St. Croix, call Marcia Taylor at UVI's Marine Advisory Service. The number is 692-4046.
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