All over the world, even in a pandemic, individuals and small groups found beaches to clean. Before throwing away their collected marine debris, some took the time and effort to carefully sort, identify, record, and report their findings.
Trash Free Seas (a program of Ocean Conservancy) invites people to gather trash, sort it, and enter the data into a real-time worldwide database. In Clallam Bay-Sekiu, during the International Coastal Cleanup-2020 COVID 19 version, hosted by the Visitor Center and Clallam Bay Sekiu Lions, three folks from surrounding towns came west to help locals clean our beaches. Port Angeles High School seniors Molly Scofield and Tanner Price and Forks scientist, Dr. Tommy Moore, cleaned Shipwreck Point, a northwestern beach along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
First Dr. Moore, and then Molly and Tanner worked with Dr. Nancy Messmer, to sort the many ungainly bags of very sandy and soupy debris into piles of like items. There emerged piles of aluminum cans, glass bottles, cloth bags and nets, a lot of rope, and piles of identifiable and unknown pieces of plastic. The teams then worked through each pile of debris, identifying item by item, for the Ocean Trash Data Form.
Ocean Conservancy runs the Trash Free Seas program and collects and analyzes data from the International Coastal Cleanups and more. Participants can enter data directly into the Clean Swell app or they can tally data on worksheets and enter the data later directly into the International Database. In this case, Dr. Moore, Molly, and Tanner picked up the debris, then sorted and identified it with Dr. Messmer tallying the results and entering the data.
Now that they are back home, the marine debris team and the public can view their data on the worldwide map reporting 2020 Marine Debris collected, reported, and safely out of the ocean. View the map at www.coastalcleanupdata.org. Ocean Conservancy urges individuals and small groups to safely conduct small-scale beach cleanups close to home, several times a year, using Clean Swell to report findings. The more we understand about what is found in our oceans, the better solutions we will devise to develop practices that keep the ocean healthy.
Submitted by Nancy Messmer, Sekiu