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Braving the muck and grime, volunteers scavenged roughly 26.5 miles of Cedar Key coast on Saturday, collecting approximately 2000 pounds of trash as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.
Fifty-nine (and-a-half) volunteers turned out to do their part, collecting garbage wherever water met the land in and around the Cedar Key area. How do you get half a volunteer?
“Sawyer Jackson isn’t even two-years-old yet, and this is his second Coastal Cleanup,” said Cedar Key Mayor Sue Colson.
As a sleeping babe last year, Sawyer joined his parents Missy and Jered Jackson who were among 54 volunteers who collected approximately 1500 pounds of trash over a distance of about 10 miles. This year more people turned out, collected more trash, and covered more than twice the distance.
Cover nets were a main item of focus this year for volunteers, and a total of 128 nets were found. Last year, 38 were collected and in 2007 there were 29. “It is higher because there are more out there, but also because we targeted them,” Colson said.
Volunteer group Ann Miller, Gene Benedict and Eileen Bowers filled up Chuck Asbury’s pickup truck bed four times with cover nets from the Piney Point Beach and airport bridge areas. “And then they filled the truck up again with trash,” Asbury said. Cover net collection at the Cedar Key Marina will continue throughout the week.
The 59 (and-a-half) volunteers also collected a total of 674 plastic bottles, 573 beverage cans, 488 glass bottles, 213 plastic bags, 218 food wrappers, 130 building materials, 69 buoys, 50 oil bottles, 50 pieces of clothing, 28 ropes, and 17 balloons.
The Coastal Cleanup is not only important for trash removal, but also for data collection, Colson said. “The information we collect is very helpful so we can know and identify for remediation.”
“Whiddon Ave. is a hot spot. We need to get two garbage cans out there with recycling bins attached to them.”
One group decided to tackle the area along Whiddon between Cedar Key School and Hwy. 24. Linda Seyfert and Chris Reynolds joined forces with Jill and Richard Glinert. With help from teens Muki Glinert, Ridley Reynolds and Cloe Reynolds, they found three tires, three fishing nets, five flower pots, five buoys, 81 food wrappers, 315 glass bottles, 198 beverage cans, 87 plastic bottles, 32 plastic bags, and 54 building materials, among other things.
“And that area was cleaned last year,” Colson said. By adding garbage cans, Colson hopes to reduce the waste. “But the garbage cans won’t help the cars – that will need to be changed with awareness.”
Colson had hoped the data would show that the community’s recycling efforts would have reduced the number of plastics found in this year’s cleanup. “It hasn’t helped at all. But most of those areas don’t have recycling containers,” she said.
At nearby Joe Rains Beach, however, there is a garbage can with an attached recycling container. Volunteers found 45 plastic bottles along that coastline.
Just down the road along G Street, though, where there are three recycle bins, volunteers found a much cleaner scene. The sum total for the entire stretch of coastline was three plastic bags, one plastic bottle, one rubber glove and a wooden board.
Colson said that without giving people the option, there is no to know what they will do.
“We can’t say the recycling effort isn’t working on Whiddon because it doesn’t exist.”
2009 2008 2007
Plastic bottles 674 521 408
Glass bottles 488 507 332
Clothing 50 23 36
Cups/plates/forks/etc. 321 183 175
Food wrappers 218 183 257
Caps/lids 113 65 31
Buoys 69 35 44
Oil/lube bottles 50 38 34
Building materials 130 95 17
Tires 7 6 1
Cover nets 128 38 29