Jason Kiffe and Molly Reese Kiffe clean up a section of the BSL Seawall with team members BSL Mayor Les Fillengame and grandson Parker
article and photos by Ellis Anderson
More than three hundred Hancock County volunteers took part in a world-wide Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, October 18th. According to Sally Isaacs with the Hancock Chamber who was the county's event coordinator, nearly two tons of debris was pulled from county waters while shore-side, 187 bags of garbage were collected.
2014 marked the 26th year that Hancock County has participated in the global event. Any land that borders the water - the Mississippi Sound, the bay, bayous, or canals - is included in the clean-up. Isaacs managed 15 teams that tackled zones ranging from Diamondhead to McLeod Water Park to Bayou Cadet.
Ocean Conservancy, the organization that organizes the clean-up effort, released a "trash index" with world-wide cleanup numbers (see the slideshow below). Their "Weird Finds" list contains a 1904 typewriter, a pink tutu and a voodoo doll in a jar.
See our sidebar article to the right, which explains more about why coastal cleanup is so important. Lifestyle changes can help mitigate the problem and the Ocean Conservancy poster at the end of the article will give you some ideas on how you can make a difference!
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Learn More from NOAA + Children's Art Contest "Keep the Sea Free of Debris!"
Marine litter kills, maims and tortures birds, turtles, mammals. While most of the suffering happens out of the sight of humans, it's happening around the clock and is on the rise.
Entanglement and ingestion are the two primary ways debris can cause suffering and death. Last winter, the distressed bird below was spotted by the Washington Street Pier. Plastic bags had caught in its throat pouch and wrapped around its beak. Perhaps someone careless tossed their bait sack away, never dreaming that it would later kill this magnificent bird in a horrific fashion.
Despite efforts to try to rescue the bird, it eluded capture - and most likely met with a very sad end.
What can you do to help solve the problem?
Learn about marine debris and what you can do to help! NOAA's Marine Debris program has an excellent website with learning tools for adults and children.