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Volunteers collect marine debris statewide

North Carolina Coastal Federation kicked off its statewide marine debris removal program at three land-based locations Saturday, Jan. 12.

Volunteers and federation staff cleaned the Rodanthe Harbor on Hatteras Island, Hoop Pole Creek at Atlantic Beach and Morris Landing, in the Wilmington area.

In Rodanthe, 29 volunteers and four federation staffers responded to the calls for help. Those volunteers removed 4.77 tons of debris during the clean-up. The project completely filled a 40-yard roll-off dumpster, two 8-yard front end load dumpsters and 200 pounds of recyclables.

Storm debris included lots of wood, a toilet, many car parts and pieces, 6 beach chairs, 8 coolers, an inflatable dinghy and an entire refrigerator filled with unopened beverages. The items of highest quantity were aluminum cans at 443, and plastic bottles at 240.

Local watermen also discarded unusable crab pots and fishing nets that were stored near the ferry terminal.

The clean-up took place on Dare County-owned property. A county crew delivered and retrieved the 40-yard roll-off dumpster and emptied the two 8-yard dumpsters.

Federation staffer Sara Hallas coordinated the Rodanthe clean-up.

At Hoop Pole Creek, Atlantic Beach, 71 volunteers showed up. The large crew collected 25 contractor bags full of marine debris, estimated to weight about 750 pounds. Additionally, large, woody debris washed up in the marsh was collected. It weighed 1,500 pounds. The folks collected lots of cigarette butts, a toilet, and surprisingly large number of tennis balls.

Foundation staffer Rachel Bisesi coordinated this event.

The clean-up at Morris Landing, near Wilmington, drew 21 volunteers who logged 1,300 items into the NOAA Marine Debris Tracker. The estimated weight is about 500 pounds of trash and 150 pounds of recycling. About 300 glass bottles, 400 plastic bottles, 200 aluminum cans and 80 plastic bags were among the items collected.

Foundation staffer Ted Wilgis coordinated this event.

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