Eliminate Marine Debris
Whether it is a desire for a clean beach for residents, or an attractive coastline for our visitors, or a sincere interest in acting locally to have a positive impact on global ocean health, our CLEAN program exists to educate, inspire and empower the community to solve the problem of marine debris through our program to eliminate marine debris from the shoreline, improve habitat and promote environmental stewardship. This is a comprehensive approach that combines marine debris removal with prevention through education and engagement.
Overview of active efforts
Core cleanups – Nine months a year on a set schedule we host cleanups for anyone in the community to take action and be part of the effort to eliminate marine debris. These events occur from Labor Day to Memorial day twice per month on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is required, locations vary, and complete details including sign-up can be found on our volunteer page.
AFTER5 cleanups – Three months a year on a set schedule we host cleanups for anyone in the community to take action and be part of the effort to eliminate marine debris. These events occur in the summer every week on Tuesday at Mackerel Cove, Jamestown at 5 p.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Surfer’s End of Second Beach, Middletown. Registration is required, and complete details including sign-up can be found on our volunteer page.
Flexible cleanups – A fun, easy and impactful way to take action, get outside, and promote environmental stewardship is for an individual (or family) to adopt a small section of coastline, watershed or neighborhood, and perform a cleanup on a flexible schedule. This program started at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown in 2014. We provide you with all the supplies, you take action once a month and report the results, and the effort is integrated into our overall program results. To get involved, please visit our community scientist page.
Partner cleanups – A fun, easy and impactful way to take action, get outside, and promote environmental stewardship is for a group (neighborhood group, business, etc.) to adopt a small section of coastline, watershed or neighborhood, and perform a cleanup on a flexible schedule. This program requires a point of contact to lead the monthly cleanup, and essentially run the event as if it were a COA core cleanup. We provide you with all the supplies, you take action once a month and report the results, and the effort is integrated into our overall program results. To get involved, please visit our community scientist page.
Education and Outreach – Our education and outreach activities are aligned with our community scientist efforts so that a hands-on student-led experience can have the greatest chance of fostering environmentally responsible behaviors and promoting stewardship in our community via action. For complete information about education and outreach opportunities, please visit our education page.
Analytics and Reporting – Data becomes information and information becomes knowledge that informs our decision making to eliminate marine debris. With over fourteen years of shoreline cleanups we have amassed an incredible data set that empowers our organization. All of our data is available for the public and our annual Clean report can be found on our reports page.
Advocacy – Our main goal is to bring about systemic change is to connect the community with the environment, educating, inspiring, and empowering to foster environmentally responsible behaviors. However, some forms of marine debris problems require advocacy and policy. From our first efforts to prohibit smoking on Aquidneck Island in 2015 to creating over a dozen local ordinances in Rhode Island from 2017 to 2019 to eliminate single-use plastics bags, we recognize the importance of well-crafted advocacy efforts to achieve the goal to eliminate marine debris. In 2020 the statewide plastic bag bill is a priority for our grassroots advocacy efforts and earlier this year we have testified at the Senate and House hearing. The actual bills are here Senate Bill # 2003 and House Bill #7306. Our letters to each committee are here House Letter and Senate Letter. The Senate moved forward with their version of the bill and it was approved which is great news. To read some news coverage, check out these articles from the Providence Journal and ECORI. What remains for the statewide plastic bag bill is the House version of the Bill, which is more stringent (a good thing) however it is unlikely the Senate will adjust their version. The next step is for the House committee to re-introduce the bill into committee and hopefully make changes to align it to be equal to that of the Senate. If that were to happen, the next step would be for the full house to vote on it. Presuming it passes, then both bills would be with the Governor for signing into law.
Map of activities
Frequently asked questions
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Since our first beach cleanup in September 2006 to the end of 2019 the community has accomplished these incredible results to eliminate marine debris.
Number of cleanups performed
Pounds of debris removed
Hours of volunteer service
Get involved, volunteer, and become a community scientist
There are many ways to get involved with our efforts to eliminate marine debris, along with our other programs and project. Please visit our community scientist page.
Thank you to our Clean program sponsors
Our CLEAN program is made possible because of the generous support of the community and our Clean program business sponsors. Thank you for believing in our mission.