State Officials Kick Off COASTSWEEP Beach Cleanups

Event Marks Statewide Effort to Clean Up Trash From Beaches, River Banks, Marshes
and Seafloor

GLOUCESTER – August 24, 2016 – Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
Secretary Matthew Beaton today joined local officials, campers, interns and
volunteers from the Cape Ann YMCA and Maritime Gloucester at Gloucester’s Stage Fort
Park to kick off COASTSWEEP. Started in 1987, COASTSWEEP is a statewide effort
organized by EEA’s Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) where thousands of
volunteers clean up trash from the Commonwealth’s beaches, river banks, marshes and
seafloor.

«COASTSWEEP is a yearly effort which reminds residents from all corners of the
Commonwealth how important it is to care for our natural resources,» said Secretary
Matthew Beaton. «I applaud the efforts of the Office of Coastal Zone Management, and
encourage individuals and families to volunteer in their hometown to ensure that
Massachusetts’ natural splendor will continue for years to come.»

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, COASTSWEEP
participants join hundreds of thousands of other volunteers each year in the world’s
largest volunteer effort for the ocean. COASTSWEEP cleanups are planned at close to
40 Massachusetts locations from late August through November, with additional
cleanups being added weekly. In addition to the important task of removing trash,
COASTSWEEP volunteers record information about what they collect. The data collected
at each cleanup is entered into an international marine debris database maintained
by the Ocean Conservancy. This information is used to better understand the sources
of marine debris globally and develop solutions for prevention.

«The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management is proud to have organized
COASTSWEEP for the last 30 years,» said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. «Literally
hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours have been spent to help clean up the coast
during that time, making our coastal areas cleaner and safer for wildlife and
everyone who enjoys time at the shoreline and on the water.»

From plastics as tiny as a grain of rice to trash as large as abandoned cars, marine
debris is more than just an eyesore; it can also directly harm humans and sea life.
Sea birds, seals and other animals can be choked, starved or poisoned when they
become entangled or mistake debris for food. Sea turtles are particularly vulnerable
and can die after swallowing clear plastic bags, which look like their favorite
food, jellyfish. Beachgoers can injure themselves on glass, wood or metal while
walking on the sand or swimming off the coast, and boaters can find themselves
stranded when propellers are jammed with fishing line or cooling intakes are clogged
with plastic.

COASTSWEEP participants can volunteer for an existing cleanup or organize a cleanup
of their own. All cleanup supplies (bags, gloves, data cards, pencils, etc.) are
provided free of charge and cleanups can be scheduled any time through November. To
join or organize a cleanup, check out the COASTSWEEP
website or call (617) 626-1200. You can also become a
friend of COASTSWEEP on Facebook or follow COASTSWEEP on
Twitter and Instagram.

The Massachusetts Office Coastal Zone Management is the lead policy and planning
agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and
Environmental Affairs. Through planning, technical and grant assistance and public
information programs, CZM seeks to balance the impacts of human activity with the
protection of coastal and marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping
coastal communities address the challenges of storms, sea level rise and other
effects of climate change; working with state, regional and federal partners to
balance current and new uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and
promoting sustainable economic development; and partnering with communities and
other organizations to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.