No matter how many litter laws we pass, and no matter how efficient our waste management services become, there will always be a need for good citizens helping to keep our beaches clean.
That’s why the Alabama Coastal Cleanup has been going strong for more than three decades here on the Gulf Coast. And in a couple weeks, they’ll need all the help they can get to maximize this year’s efforts—which will look a bit different from previous years.
The 33rd annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup is expanding its imprint to a full week to coincide with National Estuaries Week, and Saturday, September 19 will serve as the kickoff event (rain or shine!). From 8am to noon, thousands of volunteers will split into teams to clean up Alabama’s coastal waterways and beaches along 30+ different locations. Volunteers are needed by foot and by boat, so whether you come by land or by sea, there’s a cleanup zone nearby that needs your help.
“It is always amazing to me how much litter is recovered from our shorelines and beaches every year during the Coastal Cleanup,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “We appreciate all the volunteers and groups that come out and participate.”
The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is more than just a morning of feel-good community service. It’s a crucial part of maintaining our coastal ecosystems.
Since the origins of the Alabama Coastal Cleanup in 1987—a coordinated effort between Alabama People Against a Littered State (PALS) and the ADCNR to join the International Coastal Cleanup—more than 87,000 volunteers have helped clean the beaches on a sunny day in September. More than 5,000 volunteers have pitched in each of the last few years.
This includes a tremendous recycling effort. Over the past few years, the Alabama Coastal Cleanup has partnered with Coca-Cola, Weeks Bay Foundation, Thompson Engineering, and Osprey Initiative to recycle thousands of pounds of litter. 2020 will be the fifth straight year that recycling is on the menu, with a focus on aluminum and #1 plastics.
Do you live on the Alabama Gulf Coast? Do you want to pitch in? We thought you might.
Find a cleanup zone near you, then click on the location to find contact information for the zone captain. Or you can call 251-928-9792 for general information. There’s always room for more volunteers when we’re keeping Alabama beautiful. (Just remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing!)
And if you can’t make it to this year’s events, don’t worry—there are plenty of ways to get involved and help keep our coast clean.
“Besides making our beaches more pristine, removing litter protects fish, bird, dolphins, sea turtles, and other wildlife,” Blankenship said. “It gives me good feeling every year to see how much trash can be removed when many of us work together.”