GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

September 28, 2012

Teens clear 60 pounds of trash from two Rockport beaches

ROCKPORT — Visitors to Rockport’s downtown will find Front and Back beaches, with their blankets of sand, clear of cigarette butts, plastic wrappers and empty bottles.

The litterless sand, courtesy of a group of Rockport High School students, was picked clean over a 2-hour period. The teens collected 60 pounds, or about seven large garbage bags full, of refuse. Empty wrappers that once flapped in the breeze are gone, bottles that lolled at the water’s edge cleared away, and cigarette butts picked from the sand where they were once half-buried.

Rockport High senior Renee Waller, president of the school’s Environmental Action Team, organized the students’ participation last Saturday in the 25-year-old Coastsweep program, a worldwide beach clean-up effort, organized by the Urban Harbors Institute at University of Massachusetts Boston.

“It’s an organization and they’re so happy you’re doing it. You choose a day and they just give you the stuff you need,” Waller said.

The Environmental Action Team has participated each year since 2009, scouring Rockport’s beaches that are most sorely in need. Last year students cleaned Cape Hedge and Long beaches.

Coastsweep provides garbage bags, gloves, data cards and pencils each year.

The Urban Harbors Institute will collect the Rockport students’ data and combine it with other data statewide, then use all the compiled information to study regional epidemics of specific types of litter. The data will also be used to create education and policy initiatives to help reduce marine debris.

“It’s not just collecting trash. You have to have someone writing down and tallying what you have,” Waller said. “There’s diapers and condoms — it can get pretty grimy ­— but it’s interesting what you find.”

But, Waller said the strangest item the group logged was less “grimy” than just plain weird. One of the crew found a head of cabbage rolling around in the sand.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism