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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

September 21, 2010
Mary Power and Catherine Coletti, Coastal Program (603) 559-1500
Jen Kennedy and Steve Johnson, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, (603) 431-0260 or (603) 834-0253

New Hampshire Volunteers Participate in Worldwide Coastal Cleanup Effort

Portsmouth, NH – Join volunteers Saturday September 25 for the 25th International Coastal Cleanup Day to make a difference by cleaning up our beaches and coastal waterways. Last year 498,818 volunteers in 108 countries participated in this annual event, which is coordinated worldwide by the Ocean Conservancy. During last year’s New Hampshire cleanup more than one thousand participants picked up 7,175 pounds of debris.

Debris threatens local marine wildlife. On the whale watches aboard local vessels in August and September, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation staff observed three animals hurt by debris, including an adult female right whale with a rope entangled around her body, a potentially life-threatening situation to this critically endangered species. Additional sightings included a northern gannet, one of our largest seabirds, with a fishing lure in its foot and fishing line leading to its wing, as well as a basking shark with gillnet wrapped through its mouth. Marine animals often mistake debris for food or get caught in it and are no longer able to move freely or swallow their food.

Marine debris is anything that does not occur in the natural environment, including litter such as cigarette butts, cans and wrappers, and fishing equipment like fish hooks and fishing line. Debris takes years to break down in the environment. For example, a plastic bag will take between 10-20 years to decompose and monofilament fishing line takes a whopping 600 years.

The Ocean Conservancy estimates that 60-80 percent of debris in the ocean originates from land, meaning that people have the power to put an end to this problem.

The cleanup weekend kicks off this Friday, September 24 when more than 300 students will help clean up several beaches, including Wallis Sands Beach in Rye and Hampton Beach in Hampton. Then on Saturday September 25, volunteers will pick up litter and debris on more than 20 coastal waterways on the Seacoast.

What: Student Cleanup Day; International Coastal Cleanup Day
When: September 24 and 25
Where: Wallis Sands Beach, Rye and Hampton Beach, Hampton; Numerous locations throughout the Seacoast, including an underwater site at Portsmouth Commercial Fish Pier on Peirce Island in Portsmouth coordinated by Coastal Program staff Mary Power, where divers will display debris on a tarp for photo opportunities. Additional locations: Odiorne Point, Foss Beach, Jenness Beach and Wallis Sands in Rye, North Hampton Beach, North Beach and Hampton Beach in Hampton, the Scammell Bridge boat launch in Durham, and Seabrook Inner Harbor in Seabrook.

The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation is coordinating this year’s International Coastal Cleanup in New Hampshire with grant funding provided by the Coastal Program at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Other major sponsors are Waste Management and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program. Free coffee and water will be provided thanks to sponsorship by Starbucks Coffee and Poland Spring; volunteers are encouraged to bring reusable containers for beverages. For a list of all sponsors, please visit

For more information on how to participate in the cleanup as well as start times and meeting spots visit or contact Jen Kennedy at (603) 431-0260 or email at

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
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