Volunteers throughout The Bahamas are preparing to take part in the Ocean Conservancy’s “26th Annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)” on Saturday, September 24th, 2011, and sponsor Ports International is proud to assist with the cause.

Every year in September, more than half-a-million people in 100 countries remove millions of pounds of trash from beaches and waterways all over the world. This year celebrates 26 years of volunteerism for a healthier ocean. Over the last quarter-century, the International Coastal Cleanup has grown from a single cleanup on a Texas beach to a worldwide movement to end the threat of trash in our ocean. As such, it not only makes a powerful statement about global concern for the environment, it also empowers local communities to do something about pollution.

“The Bahamas has participated for many years in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup and we will again this year to make a difference to our marine environment,” said Ranaldo Smith, Education Supervisor for Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island and National Coordinator of International Coastal Cleanup in New Providence. “Last year, record amounts of volunteers in New Providence alone collected 39 tons of trash which is an extraordinary accomplishment. This year, we wanted to expand the clean up area and will be focusing on Yamacraw Beach and South Beach to be cleaned from 8:00 a.m. until 1 p.m. and we encourage members of the public to join us. Please wear closed-in shoes, bring water bottle, sunscreen and gardening gloves. Abaco and Grand Bahama are also participating and are hosting clean ups of their beaches.”

International Coastal Cleanup Events in The Bahamas:

In Nassau:

o Yamacraw Beach: Dolphin Encounters – Project BEACH will host International Coastal Cleanup, Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. – 1p.m. at Yamacraw Beach near Stoke’s Cabana- the public is invited to volunteer and attend. Free bus transportation every 30 minutes starting at 7:30 a.m. from the Marathon Mall. Please wear closed in shoes, sunscreen and gardening gloves. Email Sophia Smith at Sophia.smith@dolphinencounters.com for more information or to volunteer.

o South Beach: Dolphin Encounters – Project BEACH will host International Coastal Cleanup, Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. – 1p.m. at South Beach- the public is invited to volunteer and attend. Free bus transportation every 30 minutes starting at 7:30a.m. from Town Center Mall. Please wear closed in shoes, sunscreen and gardening gloves. Email Linzi Knowles – Belton at linzi@dolphinencounters.com for more information or to volunteer.

o Dolphin Encounters – Project BEACH will also be hosting month-long Beach Buddies programmes with local students. Please call the education department at 363-7180 extension 303 to coordinate a programme.

In Abaco:

o Friends of the Environment, the International Coastal Cleanup Coordinators for Abaco, have already held one beach cleanup. To organize other clean ups throughout the month please contact Olivia Patterson at Friends of the Environment at 242-367-2721, email her at olivia@friendsoftheenvironment.org , or visit www.friendsoftheenvironment.org.

In Grand Bahama:

o On Saturday, September 17th under the theme Keep Grand Bahama Beautiful, volunteers will clean up 12 beaches and shorelines; from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The Ministry of Tourism Office in Grand Bahama serves as the Grand Bahama coordinator for International Coastal Cleanup. Please call Renamae Symonette at 242-350-8600 or emailrsymonette@bahamas.com for more information.

All Other Islands

o Contact Linzi Knowles-Belton at Dolphin Encounters for information packets on forming your own clean-ups for International Cleanup at 363-7180 ext. 303 or 359-0278 for more or emaillinzi@dolphinencounters.com.

“The International Coastal Cleanup engages people to remove trash and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways, to identify the sources of debris, and to change the behaviours that cause pollution,” says Linzi Knowles-Belton, Education Coordinator at Dolphin Encounters. “The event isn’t just about pollution clean-up it’s about pollution prevention. The event focuses on educating and empowering people to become a part of the marine debris solution. We thank our sponsors for their support and participation and encourage the public to volunteer and participate. As a coastal community keeping our ocean and waterways clean is vital to our environment and way of life. Together we can preserve our coasts.”

Top Ten Debris Items Collected Item Total Beverage Bottles (plastic) 2 liters or less 1666 Bags (Plastic) 1187 Clothing, Shoes 997 Beverage Cans 957 Bags (paper) 932 Bottles (glass) 789 Shotgun Shells/ Wadding 699 Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives, Spoons 686 Food Wrappers/Containers 649 Caps, Lids 433.

To learn more about International Coastal Cleanup visit www.oceanconservancy.org . For information on the many outreach programs offered by Dolphin Encounters-Project B.E.A.C.H. please call Annette Dempsey at 363-7180 ext. 303 for more or visit www.dolphinencounters.com.

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