(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA)—Volunteers across Virginia today took part in the 30th annual Clean the Bay Day, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) annual shoreline and stream cleanup and one of the largest volunteer events in Virginia.
Governor Ralph Northam participated this morning by picking up litter at Cape Charles on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
"I grew up on the Eastern Shore enjoying all that the Chesapeake Bay has to offer," Gov. Northam said. "That's why I'm proud to join thousands of Virginians today for this annual cleanup to help ensure the preservation and health of the Bay, our rivers, and our streams for years to come."
In just three hours today, approximately 6,000 volunteers at over 250 sites across the state, on foot and in boats, removed a reported 128,817 pounds of litter and debris over an estimated 312 miles of shoreline.
"We are all thrilled the 30th anniversary turned out to be one of the biggest Clean the Bay Days yet," said CBF Hampton Roads Grassroots Manager Tanner Council. "Everyone came together this year to make a huge improvement to our waterways and communities. From the event's founders to brand new volunteer recruits and everyone in between, we all worked together to make a big difference. This program truly is a model of cooperation."
As usual, the most common items found during today's cleanup were plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts. But volunteers recovered many larger harmful items, such as appliances, car parts, tires, and more.
Participants also recovered many strange items from rivers and streams, including an ultrasound picture, shopping carts, washing machines, and a headless mannequin.
Cleanups were held at scores of sites across Virginia, including Hampton Roads, Virginia's Eastern Shore, Richmond, Charlottesville, Shenandoah Valley, and Northern Virginia. All of Virginia's state parks within the Chesapeake Bay watershed had cleanup sites. Many partner groups also joined CBF.
Among the thousands of volunteers were elected officials, including Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia First Lady Pam Northam, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Clyde Cristman, Rep. Rob Wittman, Sen. Lynwood Lewis, Del.Kelly Convirs-Fowler, Del. Cliff Hayes, Del. Rip Sullivan, Del.Cheryl Turpin.
Many other local officials, service members, Scout groups, small businesses, large corporations, and thousands of citizens all took part.
Major corporate sponsors for Clean the Bay Day include REI, Northrop Grumman, Port of Virginia, River Network/Anheuser-Busch, and CSX.
Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged approximately 158,000 volunteers who have removed more than 6.6 million pounds of debris from more than 7,600 miles of shoreline.