To the editor:
Recently 32 volunteers signed in to clean the coastline of Common Fence Point.
In Rhode Island last year, 2,000 volunteers scoured the state coastline and removed and catalogued 25,000 pounds of trash from our shores. In 2011 internationally 24,384 light bulbs were plucked from our earth’s shores (enough to replace every light in the Eiffel Tower). In the history of the International Coastal Cleanup, 9 million people collected 144 million pounds of trash in 152 countries.
Why do volunteers age 4 to 80 do it year after year?
It’s the right thing to do. Can you imagine if that 144 million pounds of trash was still swirling around the world’s waterways and bays? Do you understand that trash on the sea bottom deprives oxygen from a host of species, suffocates others, and can lead to their starvation?
On Common Fence Point, volunteers picked up 320 pounds of trash. Last year, in Rhode Island and worldwide, the highest percentage of trash was cigarette related — almost 20,000 cigarettes and lighters picked up within three hours. Caps and lids came in second — 13,346 in Rhode Island and 1,131,647 worldwide. No one has pockets in their clothes?
A total of 8,519 plastic bags were counted in Rhode Island last year (969,244 worldwide). Perhaps other towns and cities should follow Barrington’s lead and ban the plastic bag.
Thank you Lisa Wagenbach for your intense efforts to ban the bag. Thanks, too, to Girl Scout leader Marissa Stuart for gather members of Troop #715 to help us with our data gathering.
The Sakonnet River Bridge beach was the most disgustingly trashed area for the 20th year. Thanks to the Gablinske team for yet another year of rolling up their sleeves and diligently recording the data. Thanks to newcomers Pam Mandler and Ellen Nichols from Island Park. Hope to see you here next year.
But no one has to wait until then to make a difference. Cleanups can take place any time of year. Beach cleanups are educational opportunities that provide valuable lesses for people of all ages.
Ms. Kinsella is Common Fence Point beach captain.