More than 2,000 volunteers across Virginia picked up 52,306 pounds of litter as part of Clean the Bay Day in 2021, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) annual longstanding litter cleanup. This year’s event was the first since the Virginian tradition was reimagined into a week-long self-directed event. Clean the Bay Day has occurred every year since 1989, except for 2020 when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In years past, on the first Saturday in June thousands of volunteers gathered at hundreds of cleanup sites. But because of COVID concerns, this year the event ran six days from May 31 through June 5. Participants took action on their own time and pace at any convenient location, then logged results online. In addition to recovering litter, the volunteers planted 515 native plants and installed nine rain barrels.
“This was simply amazing. Despite not being together, everyone still worked together for a healthy environment,” said CBF Clean the Bay Day Coordinator Kristin Webb. “People cleaned up tens of thousands of pounds of litter everywhere from local parks, streams, and beaches to streets and playgrounds. So many pitched in, from families and friends to Governor Northam and members of Congress. What a wonderful week.”
Volunteers posted videos and photos on social media using the hashtag #CleanTheBayDay and entered to win prizes. Submissions will be featured on CBF’s Facebook page and are also included in the compilation video here. More information on the event is available at www.cbf.org/clean.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam cleaned up litter along the James River with members of his cabinet and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. Northam also signed a proclamation declaring last week an extended Clean the Bay Day and inviting Virginians to help in the effort. Many other officials participated, including U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman at Westmoreland State Park and Elaine Luria at the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative, State Delegates Angelia Williams Graves, David L Bulova, Kathy Tran, Betsy Carr, and Alex Askew, and Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam.
Sponsors for Clean the Bay Day include Ulliman Schutte – Alberici Joint Venture, Anheuser-Busch, River Network, Port of Virginia, High Liner Foods, Avangrid Renewables, and Ball Corp. Clean the Bay Day also thanks REI, North End Bag Company, Virginia State Parks, Starbucks, Taste Unlimited, Rogue Oysters and Chessie Seafood & Aquafarm for donating prizes.