Annual Volunteer Beach Cleaning Event Returns

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Local elected officials and volunteers helped to clean up the beaches at Manorhaven Beach Town Park and Bay Walk Park. (Photos courtesy of the Town of North Hempstead)

The New York Chapter of the American Littoral Society, the Town of North Hempstead and the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee and their partners would like to thank everyone who came out and made the beach clean-up a success. This year’s annual event saw 107 volunteers (adults, teens and kids) collect more than 200 pounds of trash. This year also saw the volunteer event happen in-person and at two simultaneous locations: Manorhaven Beach Town Park and, new this year, Bay Walk Park. Last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee decided to forego the in-person event and instead encouraged volunteers to clean-up on their own and report what they found.

This year’s crew picked up more than 2,000 individual pieces of trash. Tiny trash (glass, plastic and foam pieces less than 2.5cm in size) made up over 40 percent of what was collected. Plastic in general was also a major component of the clean-up, which included bottle caps, food wrappers and a large pile of shrink-wrap used to protect boats in winter.

Among the more interesting finds were a lawn chair, lots of construction debris and a deceased shark (likely dogfish). The largest number of volunteers were Girl Scouts from various Port Washington and Great Neck troops. Also on hand for the event were State Senator Anna Kaplan, State Assembly Member Gina Sillitti, Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Town Councilmember Viviana Russell, Town Councilmember Veronica Lurvey and Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner.

“It was a great day to be out taking care of the Bay, though what we collected was rather alarming, including enough shrink wrap to cover at least one boat,” Sarah Deonarine, Executive Director of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, said. “I hope this illuminates the need to re-examine our relationship with plastic and how we secure trash that can be blown away by the wind.”

“The town sincerely appreciates the hard work of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, the New York Chapter of the American Littoral Society and of course our many volunteers during this year’s clean up,” Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “Protecting our shoreline is so important, and it’s imperative that we keep it clean for future generations. Through clean ups, such as the ones hosted by the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, we are able to help preserve our waterways.”

State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing our community pull together and pitch-in for the public good, and that’s exactly what happened at this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day event hosted by the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee. Our beaches are one of our region’s most important natural assets, and events like this make sure they’re clean and beautiful for all of us to enjoy. I’m so grateful to all the volunteers who helped, and I’m grateful for the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee for all the work they do to protect our environment.”

“I feel so blessed to live in the beautiful waterfront community of Manorhaven, so it was my pleasure to help out on International Coastal Clean-up Day,” State Assembly Member Gina Sillitti said. “Thank you to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee for organizing the event.”

“On behalf of the residents of Port Washington North and the entire Port Washington peninsula we wish to extend our gratitude to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee and all of the volunteers who assisted in cleaning up the Bay Walk Park shoreline,” Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner said. “We especially want to thank the Girl Scout Troops who participated in the cleanup event.”

As part of the International Coastal Cleanup, local residents, scouts and their families, high school students and others convened at either Manorhaven Beach Town Park or at Bay Walk Park to sign-in and collect their supplies. People then broke into groups and headed out, being sure to record what they collected on Ocean Conservancy data cards. The data will be used to inform Ocean Conservancy efforts as well as those of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee.

The Manhasset Bay Protection Committee is an inter-municipal organization aimed at addressing water quality and coastal issues in Manhasset Bay with a coordinated, watershed-level approach. The Committee has 15 member municipalities: Nassau County, the Town of North Hempstead and 13 Villages who all voluntarily entered into an inter-municipal agreement. The Committee’s goals are to protect, restore and enhance Manhasset Bay so as to ensure a healthy and diverse marine ecosystem while balancing and maintaining recreational and commercial uses. Tasks that help toward these goals include the annual volunteer beach clean-up.

For more information about Manhasset Bay, visit the Committee’s website at manhassetbay.info or e-mail the Director at mbpcExec@gmail.com.

—Submitted by the Town of North Hempstead

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