Are you looking for an opportunity to get outside with friends and family and do something that benefits your community and the environment? If so, you are encouraged to take part in the state’s largest single-day volunteer cleanup event, the 36th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup. The event will take place in Baldwin and Mobile counties on September 16, 2023, from 8 a.m. until noon.
“Volunteers are the backbone of this event,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “Over the years, they have served as good stewards of our coastal waters and shorelines. Without them, Alabama’s Coastal Cleanup would not be possible.”
Alabama’s Coastal Cleanup is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, an effort to remove marine debris from coastal waters around the world. The event is coordinated by ADCNR’s State Lands Division and Alabama People Against a Littered State (PALS). Since 1987, more than 108,000 volunteers have participated in the Alabama Coastal Cleanup and removed over 875 tons of marine debris from beaches, roadways, bayous, backwater and other coastal areas.
“This event demonstrates what can be accomplished long term when state agencies, business, industry, coordinators and volunteers come together for a common mission greater than themselves,” said Spencer Ryan, Executive Director for Alabama PALS. “It truly is a remarkable partnership.”
In addition to removing various forms of marine debris, many of the plastic bottles and aluminum cans collected will be recycled. The types and number of debris will be recorded at each zone by participating volunteers. Organizers are recommending participants use the Ocean Conservancy Clean Swell app to tally the debris. Data collected over the years helps provide insight into the issue of marine debris and generates efforts to better understand its causes and mitigate it in the future. The Clean Swell app is available for free from the Apple and Android app stores. More information about the Clean Swell app can be found at www.oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/cleanswell.
Volunteers are needed for all cleanup sites in the 28 cleanup zones in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Zone coordinators will distribute trash grabbers, large trash bags, recycling bags, gloves and other cleanup supplies to participants. There is a limited number of t-shirts, scout badges and window decals available to participants on a first come, first served basis.
The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is made possible by the generosity of many organizations, including 2023 returning Title Sponsor – the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Other sponsors and volunteer organizations include: Perdido Beach Resort, Bebo’s Express, Ike’s Beach Service, AirBus, Alabama Power, City of Gulf Shores, City of Orange Beach, Coast 360, Coastal Conservation Association-Alabama, Compass Media, Evonik, FloraBama, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, Gulf Shores Utilities, The Home Depot, Kommerling USA, LuLu’s, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Riviera Utilities, Rock & Roll Offs, Holcim, Baldwin County Sewer Service, Osprey Initiative, Thompson Engineering, Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama Farmers Cooperative, ALFA Insurance, Association of County Commissions of Alabama, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Honda, and Vulcan Materials Company.
For more information about the coastal zones, zone captains, start times, safety tips and a list of event sponsors, visit www.AlabamaCoastalCleanup.com or call (251) 621-1216.
You can also follow the Alabama Coastal Cleanup on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlabamaCoastalCleanup.
Learn more about Alabama PALS at www.alpals.org.
ADCNR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Learn more at www.outdooralabama.com.