Thousands of volunteers across Virginia picked up about 100,000 pounds of litter Saturday as part of Clean the Bay Day, a Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) annual event and Virginia’s largest and longest-running litter and shoreline cleanup.
On June 3, more than 3,000 volunteers gathered at about 200 sites in Richmond, Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, and at Virginia State Parks. While numbers are still being reported and likely to increase, preliminary totals show at least 97,795 pounds of litter and debris were removed from beaches, parks, shorelines, streams, rivers, and lakes spanning an estimated 314 miles. In addition to those numbers, 841 members of the military and volunteers in recent weeks have removed 10,305 pounds of litter as part of Clean the Bay Day.
“It’s wonderful to see how this iconic event brings people together to make a positive impact in their communities. Parks, beaches, and waterways across Virginia are cleaner now thanks to the work of thousands of volunteers,” said CBF Grassroots Coordinator Lisa Renée Jennings. “These cumulative efforts contribute to healthier rivers and streams, and a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.”
As usual, the most common items found during this year’s cleanup were plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts. But volunteers recovered many larger items, including a treadmill, a tractor tire, a toilet, a railroad tie, a mattress, a lounge chair, a countertop, an oven door, a car bumper, and a big leather office chair.
Participants also recovered many unusual items, including an immersive survival suit, a mini dirt bike, a ship’s bumper, one plastic hippopotamus, a wooden duck blind, a terracotta pipe, rubber hose, a kitchen sink, a kindle, a “just married” flag, and a $10 bill.
Among the volunteers were many elected officials, other community leaders, service members, Scout groups, small businesses, large corporations, and thousands of other Virginians. Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have removed millions of pounds of debris across Virginia.