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
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape