Antonio DiPerna crouched in the thick mangroves and described the litter he was depositing into a blue basket: “One bottle, one diaper, one plastic, one aluminum can.”
Kathy Thompson, recording DiPerna’s collected items onto a tally sheet, was exasperated. “A diaper? Come on, people. That’s disgusting.”
Nearly 20 people of all ages scoured the North shoreline at Sebastian Inlet to collect trash as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 17. Sebastian Inlet District hosted the event, with the help of its partner, Sebastian Inlet State Park. Coastal Connections, a Vero-based environmental nonprofit group, managed the cleanup that day, one of many throughout Brevard and Indian River counties.
Volunteers filled the bright blue baskets with bottles, cans, monofilament, scraps of paper, rusty batteries, chunks of unidentifiable plastic, a straw hat and used toilet paper. The cleanup stretched from the mangrove trail at the west end of the shoreline to the eastern tip of the crescent-shaped beach known as the tide pool.
James Gray, executive director of Sebastian Inlet District brought his wife, Lisa, and his two daughters to participate and check out the District’s recently completed shoreline stabilization project. The District’s Commission Chairwoman, Jenny Lawton Seal, along with her sister and niece, also pitched in.
“It’s incredible that in about an hour, about 20 people could remove 180 pounds of garbage from the shoreline,” Gray said. “It goes to show you the impact people have on the environment in both a negative way – by littering – and by joining together to make a difference as we did today.”
Gail Ambrose said she lives near the state park and picks up litter quite often.
"I come down and pickup after busy weekends," she says. "You wouldn't believe the things I find. Rafts, pool noodles...after Easter I've found plastic Easter eggs."
To ensure that the District’s shoreline improvements continue to look spiffy, the agency has contracted Coastal Connections to operate a beach basket program in which visitors can borrow a blue basket, collect trash, return the basket and throw away the trash.
Gray said the District will continue to work with Sebastian Inlet State Park and Coastal Connections to host quarterly cleanups when needed.
Coastal Connections reports that 800 community volunteers removed 2,385.82 lbs of debris from waterfront parks in Indian River County during International Coastal Cleanup Day.
The International Coastal Cleanup® (ICC) engages people to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways. Thanks to volunteers around the world, the ICC has become a beacon of hope, leading and inspiring action in support of our ocean. Since its beginning, more than 17 million volunteers have collected more than 348 million pounds of trash.
Sept. 19 2022
Sebastian Inlet District has hired Coastal Connections to manage new beach basket stations. The concept is easy: Grab a basket while you are visiting the Inlet, collect garbage, throw the garbage away, and return the basket to the station. Easy Peasy.