#ConnectAndCollect at Ocean Conservancy’s 36th Annual International Coastal Cleanup

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MOREHEAD CITY, NC – This September, Carteret Big Sweep is encouraging volunteers to #ConnectAndCollect as part of Ocean Conservancy’s 36th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), the world’s largest volunteer effort to remove and record trash from roadsides, waterways, beaches, and the ocean.

“This year’s ICC is a time to safely reconnect with our ocean and our loved ones while helping to remove debris from roadsides, beaches, and waterways,” said Dee Smith, Carteret Big Sweep’s Coordinator. “We highlight this annual event to bring awareness to the growing litter and marine debris problem by bringing the community together for one day. Additionally, Carteret Big Sweep and Carteret County have continued year-round efforts to keep our county clean with ongoing events and programs.”

Whether you bring a friend to a community event or conduct your own small group cleanup with your household, you can join the global movement to #ConnectandCollect with three easy steps:

1. Form Your Crew: Joining the ICC is one of the most immediate ways you can help keep plastic out of our waters – and one of the best ways to increase your impact is by bringing a fellow ocean-lover to do the same.

2. Find a Spot: Clean up with your pod around your neighborhood or join in a Carteret Big Sweep event.

3. Clean Up: Download Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app to record the trash you collect.

Carteret County cleanup volunteers contribute to the world’s largest database on marine debris by logging the trash they collect in Ocean Conservancy’s award-nominated Clean Swell app (available for free download from the App Store and Google Play). Scientists, researchers, industry leaders, and policymakers rely on Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index to inform policy and determine solutions to the growing marine debris crisis.

Every year, millions of tons of trash—including an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic waste—flows into the ocean, impacting more than 800 marine species and even entering the food chain. Over the last 35 years of the ICC, over 16.5 million volunteers have joined cleanup efforts big and small to remove 344 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide. In 2020, Carteret County collected and recorded 42,789 pounds of trash and debris.

“No matter where you are or the size of your cleanup, every piece of trash collected by ICC volunteers helps to stem the tide of plastic entering our ocean,” said Allison Schutes, director of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. “We’re excited to be able to come together for this year’s ICC, both through community cleanups events and small group cleanups; and we are so grateful for the efforts of Carteret Big Sweep and all the Carteret County volunteers in helping us achieve our shared vision for a cleaner, healthier ocean.”

For more information on locations or to schedule a group cleanup, contact Dee Smith at 252-222-6365. Scheduled public cleanups for ICC on September 18 in Carteret County are:

· Iron Steamer Beach Access, Pine Knoll Shores 8:00 a.m.

· 10th Street Beach Access, Morehead 9:00 a.m.

· Gallants Channel Maritime Property, Beaufort 9:00 a.m.

· Atlantic Beach Circle, Atlantic Beach 9:00 a.m.

· Cape Carteret Aquatic Center, Cape Carteret 11:00 a.m.

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