The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is part of an international effort to remove marine debris from coastal waters. Alabama joined this effort in 1987. Since then
more than 83,000 volunteers in Alabama have removed a total of
1.5 million pounds of debris and cleaned 5,223 miles of coast. The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the largest single-day volunteer event for the marine environment. Part of this unique experience is data collection. After years of collecting data on the specific types of marine debris being found, ICC data now focuses on the activities that cause the debris. The Ocean Conservancy compiles, analyzes, and tracks this data year-by-year and site-to-site to identify the activities and general sources of the debris in a region, state, or country.
Activities That Produce Marine Debris
Recreational and Shoreline Activities: Debris from beachgoers, picnics, sports and games, festivals, as well as litter washed from streets, parking lots, and storm drains.
Ocean/Waterway Activities: Debris from recreational fishing and boating; commercial fishing; cargo, military, and cruise ships; and offshore industries such as oil drilling.
Smoking Related Activities: The littering of cigarette filters, cigar tips, and tobacco products packaging is common on land and sea.
Dumping Activities: Debris from legal and illegal dumping of building material or large household items.
Medical/Personal Hygiene: This debris can be left by beachgoers as well as disposed of improperly into toilets and city streets. Because medical and hygiene debris often enters the waste stream through sewer systems, its presence on the beach can indicate the presence of other, unseen pollutants.
Runoff: Trash left anywhere on land may reach streams and creeks during rainfall events. Those tributaries flow into local waterways carrying the trash with them.
Source: The Ocean Conservancy, Virginia Beach, VA "2003 International Coastal Cleanup, Alabama Summery Report," pg. 8
Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural ResourcesIf you haven't seen them already, look for the
white PVC pipes at your local fishing hole along the coast and fill them
with your used and broken fishing line. These outdoor bins are made of
4- or 6-inch PVC, and may be labeled with a variety of stickers
including "We recycle. Don't leave your line behind" and
Recovery and Recycling." Please pay special attention to the "Warning:
No Garbage" sticker. Plus, coming soon to your coastal tackle shops will
be cardboard indoor bins, in which you can drop off your line as well as
your empty spools.
State Lands Division, Coastal Section
Why should you recycle your monofilament? Because discarded
monofilament takes over 600 years before it will begin to
biodegrade. During those 600 years, monofilament can
entangle or be ingested by fish, sea turtles, birds, marine
mammals, and other wildlife. Monofilament can also become
entangled in boat propellers causing costly damage to
motors, and it can trap SCUBA divers and swimmers as well.
Even when you throw your line in a garbage can there is a
risk that it will ensnare other wildlife or wash its way
back to the water.
If you have any questions about the program or would like to become a
partner, please contact Angela Underwood at (251) 929-9792 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to volunteer for the
Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Initiative or participate in a local
coastal cleanup, please contact Mark Langner of the Southeastern
Wildlife Conservation Group at (205) 243-4755 or
email@example.com. Partners in the Alabama Monofilament Recovery
and Recycling Initiative are: Southeastern Wildlife Conservation Group,
Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center, Alabama State
Lands Division-Coastal Section, Alabama Marine Resources Division,
Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Mississippi-Alabama Sea
Grant, and the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.