International Coastal Cleanup set Saturday

The 2018 International Coastal Cleanup is Saturday.

Some 350 volunteers had signed up by Thursday, said James Roubal of Port Angeles, coordinator of Washington CoastSavers.

More are needed. Of the 14 beaches on the Strait of Juan de Fuca — all considered easily accessible — and 22 Pacific Coast beaches from Neah Bay to Queets, eight of which are considered challenging, only two had sufficient volunteers for Saturday’s cleanup as of Thursday.

To register for a specific beach, and other information, see www.coastsavers.org.

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is a global cleanup effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy with coordinators in some 100 nations and 36 states. Washington CoastSavers serves as cleanup coordinators in Washington state.

Trash found at ICC events will be counted and included in an annual index of global marine debris to be released in 2019.

The Surfrider Foundation will host a barbecue for volunteers at Hobuck Beach in Neah Bay.

That beach also will be a collection site for plastics to be recycled as artificial limbs, Roubal said.Washington CoastSavers is partnering with the nonprofit Million Waves Project, based in Anacortes,which recycles plastic found on beaches.

Plastic debris is of a particular concern, according to the Ocean Conservancy at tinyurl.com/PDN-oceantrash.

The site says that researchers have found that the concentration of plastic pollution in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is growing, and that the accumulation of marine debris is between four and 16 times greater than previously thought. Nearly half of all the large debris in the Gyre is lost or abandoned fishing gear.

The conservancy says that microplastics have been found not only in oceans but also in rivers, soils and in household and industrial composting.

Exposure to microplastics has been seen to cut the reproduction and population growth rate in zooplankton — animals that form the base of the ocean food chain.

The site adds that scientists have found evidence that ocean plastic is linked with disease on coral reefs.

Washington CoastSavers is an alliance of partners and volunteers dedicated to keeping the state’s beaches clean of marine debris.

Founding members of CoastSavers include representatives of the Lions Club International, Discover Your Northwest, Surfrider Foundation, Grass Roots Garbage Gang, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Olympic National Park and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

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