was established in 1986, when a staff person from theOcean Conservancy decided to take action to clean the litter from the shores of South Padre Island, Tex.
Grocery bags...bottles...cigarette butts...wrappers and straws. They don’t fall from the sky; they fall from human hands. And whats washed up on the shore is only a fraction of what is in the water. From Baltimore to Bangladesh, Ocean Conservancy leads the worlds largest volunteer effort for the ocean. Every year in September, more than half-a-million people in 100 countries remove millions of pounds of trash frombeaches and waterways all over the world. Over the lastquarter-century, the International Coastal Cleanup has grown from a single cleanup on a Texas beach to a worldwide movement to end the threat of trash in our ocean.
The event was brought to Monroe County in1993 through the ambitions of a young lady(eight years old), then part of a 4-H club, theWest Irondequoit Green Keepers. She camehome from her volunteer job at the locallibrary’s summer reading program andannounced her desire to “clean up ourbeach.”
“The Ocean Conservancy is setting the agenda in the halls of power. Their legacy continuestoday as they translate threats into sound, practical policies that protect our ocean andimprove our lives. They recognize that real leadership means real cooperation — betweengovernments, businesses, scientists, policymakers, conservation organizations, and citizenadvocates. With your help, they will continue to create concrete solutions that lead tolasting change.” This young lady had read about the Ocean Conservancy and their efforts to engage others to clean litter from their local shorelines.
She also understood (from the very beginning) theimportance of the collected trash being properlycategorized and recorded on the data cards provided by theOcean Conservancy. This data, once compiled can and hasbeen used to support proposed legislation forenvironmental protection.
Although the first year only brought out sevenother volunteers, this humble beginning …was just the beginning.
Her goal has always been two-fold. She wanted to clean up the litter and educate her community. Following the very first cleanup this young ladybegan to plan for the next year. She and her sistersoften went to public education venues (like the one you are at today) to share their enthusiasm for environmental protection.
This picture is their “Wall of Trash.” Built from post-consumer pizzaboxes and the actual trash picked up on Durand Beach in September of1993. They would go on to staff their own booth at many local events.
1994 – 1997 the event grew each year and by 1997 it alsoincluded a live broadcast from Lori Baister (WMAX) and scuba volunteers from the WMAX Green Team.
In 1998, this dedicated young lady reached out to a variety of local organizations/businesses to provide food and beverages for a morning snack and eventually an entire Trash Bash.By 1999, the Trash Bash came to include prizes for the most, best, grossest etc. as well as lunch for all the volunteers.
20041,036 volunteerspicked up over10,137 pounds oftrash from 26miles of localshoreline
2006Over 10,175volunteersremoved over272,157 pounds ofdebris in New Yorkstate alone!
2008716 volunteerspicked up over5,000 pounds oftrash from eightCounty shorelinesites.
2009740 volunteerspicked up 3,310pounds of trashfrom 28 miles ofLake Ontarioshoreline.
2010481 volunteerspicked up over3,500 pounds oftrash, along thelakeshore inMonroe County
STOP!Yes, its a beautiful day, the waves cozy up to lavish the shore,the sun drives on to the tunes of the radio, we’re so fab when we’re driving...soSTOP!Out the window to the beautiful day went your wrappers, your cups, your cigarette butts...STOP!Because somewhere...else…someone...else…someplace…else…will pick up your castawaysSTOP!That bird from pecking up food, beak wrapped up with plastic and worm,the duck, with the six-pack too quacked up to speak.the scrawny tailed squirrel, with tinfoil to cheek,the chipmunk who exchanged an acorn for litterwill be cold and hungry for all of the winterSTOP!Your trash from floating… neon, food bits for a fishwho ingests only particles of a “yummy” dishSTOP!So we can count ONE LESS butt,one less piece to record on the counter side upSTOP!on our data cards, for the Coastal Clean-Up.Can’t you try to--STOP!
Jamie Romeo has been instrumental in bringing the coastal cleanup effort to our local shoreline and continues to be a diligent watchdog,protecting its integrity by keeping the International Coastal Cleanup asthe grassroots effort it was intended to be. She works tirelessly to reach out to businesses in both the public and private sector for in-kindsupport, continuing to provide beach-side breakfast, gloves and bags to hundreds of volunteers each year. Jamie signs off on her e-mail notes with “Stay True to You” and just under her electronic signature she shares this quote "One person can make a difference, but everyone should try." -JFK