Volunteers to clean up Connecticut coastline on Saturday

Volunteers will scour dozens of sites along Connecticut's coastline on Saturday as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day.

According to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, more than 1,400 volunteers removed at least 7,600 pounds of trash from the shoreline last year. In a recent news release, Save the Sound said more than 17,000 local volunteers have snatched at least 62 tons of litter and debris from beaches, rivers, marshes and island shores over the last decade.

Several cleanups are planned for the area Saturday morning into the afternoon, including at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Ocean Beach Park in New London, Hole in the Wall Beach and Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, and Bluff Point State Park in Groton, among others.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find a list of cleanup sites and schedules online at bit.ly/CTCoastClean19.

The Ocean Conservancy founded the International Coastal Cleanup 34 years ago. The event sees more than 1 million volunteers remove trash from coastlines around the world. Save the Sound has been Connecticut Coordinator for the event since 2002, the organization said.

Due to an expanded sponsorship from Subaru of New England, this year's International Coastal Cleanup event will feature cleanups in communities farther inland, such as Manchester and Torrington, focused on keeping trash out of rivers and streams that feed into Long Island Sound.

The environmental advocacy group said at least 70 cleanups are planned throughout the fall.

Save the Sound says it has a "special focus" on cigarette butts, plastics — including bags and straws — "and other trash that harms wildlife that ingest or become tangled in it."

"When people see the impact they can make on their favorite beach or river, they start to feel empowered to work for policies that benefit all the birds and marine life that call the Sound and all the rivers that run to it home," Soundkeeper Bill Lucey said in a statement.

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