(April 5, 2019) April is Earth Month, which focuses on cleaning up the environment. Throughout the month, several activities in Worcester County will focus on cleaning up the beaches, streets and parks in the area every weekend.
•Earth Day Cleanup:
Volunteers are encouraged to join the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, the Ocean City Surf Club and the Town of Ocean City for the 10th annual Earth Day Cleanup this Saturday, with registration beginning at 10 a.m.
Participants will meet at City Hall on Third Street where organizers will distribute trash bags, latex gloves and assign cleanup spots. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon.
Last year, more than 200 volunteers helped pick up trash in the wetlands and sand dunes throughout the resort and collected nearly 500 pounds of trash. Cigarette butts, straws, plastic bags, Styrofoam, bits of plastic and water and soda bottles were some of the top pieces of litter collected.
“We want to help keep the bays and ocean clean,” Sandi Smith, development and marketing coordinator, said.
Volunteers will each receive a T-shirt, which were funded by a number of local businesses, while supplies last.
This cleanup event is sponsored by Maryland Coastal Bays, the Town of Ocean City, Surfrider Club, Atlantic Tackle, Barefoot Willie, Bayside Skillet, Brass Balls Saloon, Elks Lodge, Ocean City Fishing Center, Ocean City Maryland Hotel Group, Sunsations, Sunset Marina and Taphouse.
Volunteers are encouraged to sign up in advance to ensure there are enough supplies, although there will be registration on Saturday at 10 a.m. A cleanup area will be assigned unless volunteers have an area of preference.
There are additional cleanups in the works for June and September.
For more information about the Coastal Cleanup or to register for Saturday’s events, call Smith at 410-213-2297 ext. 106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1963, the Ocean City Fire Department requested the week of April 21 be proclaimed Cleanup Week, even though Earth Day, an annual worldwide event to raise awareness about pollution, was not established until 1970.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the five coastal bays behind Ocean City and Assateague.
Maryland Coastal Bays is also promoting the Adopt Your Street Program where area residents and homeowners commit to picking up trash on a specific street for at least four days annually. In addition, the Ocean City Surf Club has a similar program with adopting a beach.
Residents are encouraged to perform spring cleaning with free bulk pick up this weekend.
Ocean City’s bulk pick-up service offers a convenient way for residents to get rid of large household items, such as furniture, appliances, bicycles and carpet, which cannot normally be loaded into a standard refuse truck.
Yard debris and shrubs are also permitted, however; the maximum diameter of tree limbs accepted is three inches. Further, this effort does not include the pick-up of full-size trees or the pick-up of large demolition/remodeling projects.
“Last year approximately 172.4 tons of mixed waste were collected in trailer loads,” Steve Brown, Public Works waste manager, said.
Mixed waste refers to any material not deemed for hazmat or e-cycling, such as electronics, paints, washers and dryers. Those products made up for around 7.9 tons, Brown said.
To participate, residents can place items curbside – staff will not go on private property to remove items – on Friday, April 5, for Saturday, April 6, pick-up from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, April 7, pick up from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The town is providing bulk pick-up free of charge during this period. At other times, cost for bulk pick-up is $20 for one item, $30 for up to three items and $5 for each additional item.
There will also be an amnesty program to collect fireworks, old ammunition and old weapons that residents may have in their household and need to be removed.
For more information, call the Town of Ocean City’s solid waste division at 410-524-0318.
On Saturday, April 20, the Surfrider Chapter of Ocean City will be hosting a cleanup beginning at 11 a.m. Volunteers should meet at 135th Street near the ocean pathway and join the group in collecting litter on the beach.
“We’re taking care of our home and our environment, because if we don’t, no one else will,” Effie Cox, environmental chair for the Ocean City Surf Club, said. “We have a lot of people who care. We’re very fortunate in that aspect.”
For more information, visit the Surfrider Chapter of Ocean City Facebook page.
Assateague Coastal Trust’s second annual Trash Free Assateague program will host a beach cleanup and interactive discussion on the North Point of Assateague Island on Saturday, April 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Less than a dozen people participated in the inaugural cleanup held last February. Despite the small number of volunteers, around 195 pounds of trash was picked up.
“That particular spot of Assateague has kind of become the filter for a lot of the trash and stuff that washes up on shore from Ocean City and West Ocean City,” Billy Weiland, communications director and TFA founder, said. “Bottle caps and cans like that ended up being almost 200 pounds.”
Assateague Coastal Trust will shuttle volunteers over to the North Point from Fisherman’s Marina on Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City from 7:45-9 a.m. with a 17-foot-long Carolina Skiff, which can hold a maximum of 16 people at a time. Registration is required.
A Trash Free Assateague discussion will take place on the island once all volunteers arrive. Following the presentation, volunteers will be able to sweep various areas of Assateague’s North Point from 9:30 to around 1 p.m.
“It’s a unique kind of an exclusive program,” Weiland said. “It’s more than just beach cleanups. It’s a word to action thing and when I talk to people, I get kind of philosophical a little bit.
“In the past couple of years there has been this resurgence of people latching onto the whole single-use plastic and littering thing that’s been a problem all along,” he continued. “But it just seems like in the past four or five years it’s really in the public eye now.”
Those interested in attending that have their own boat or kayak are also encouraged to meet with Assateague Coastal Trust on the back side of the island. The trip over will take approximately 5 minutes each way from Fisherman’s Marina in West Ocean City.
Beginning at 3 p.m., a post event gathering will take place in the Taco Shop at Mother’s Cantina on 28th Street where the public will have a chance to meet with ACT staff, learn more about the Trash Free Assateague program, and enjoy happy hour prices on food and drinks.
Trash Free Assateague was founded in February 2018 in response to a recognized growing need to address the excessive amount of plastic and trash accumulating on the North Point of Assateague Island. The program focuses on beach cleanups on Assateague throughout the year and aims to educate volunteers about the adverse environmental and health effects associated with plastics.
Each Trash Free Assateague event incorporates a program discussion that encourages volunteers to work toward sustainable means of living and adopt lifestyle practices that are lighter on the land.
Those interested in joining can register online at www.ActForBays.org/trash-free-assateague.
•Berlin Annual Cleanup:
The Town of Berlin will hold its annual cleanup day on Saturday, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., wrapping up Take Pride in Berlin Week, which begins on Saturday, April 20.
“This year we are working with Comcast,” Mary Bohlen, administrative services director and liaison with the Park Commission, said. “They are doing their Comcast Cares Day. They encourage their employees to volunteer in their communities.
“They are working with us in Berlin on cleanup day and will be making a [non-disclosed] donation for every volunteer to Worcester Youth and Family,” she continued. “Not just their employees, but every volunteer who comes out that day.”
Last year, around 40 volunteers assisted in cleaning up the town, Bohlen said. Lunch will be provided by the Kiwanis Club. Volunteers can sign up at Stephen Decatur Park, Henry Park or Berlin Falls.
Berlin is also partnering with the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Service for a free backyard buffers tree giveaway which is available to residents county wide. Tree pickup is available April 27 at Stephen Decatur Park, 8:30 a.m. to noon.
For more information or to sign up, call Bohlen at 410-641-4314.