Volunteers Needed For Annual Coastal Cleanup

By Tamas Mondovics

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) is now recruiting volunteers for the Hillsborough River and Coastal Clean Up, one of the organization’s largest annual events.

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, the event will be KTBB’s 29th annual clean up, which according to Environmental Program Coordinator, Tom Damico, fits the organization’s mission perfectly as it provides environmental education and volunteer opportunities that develop individual responsibility and environmental stewardship.

“This event is an amazing opportunity for the community to get a better perspective of what it takes to keep our coastlines clean, how important this event is, and how we can move forward as it is pared with education,” Damico said, adding that the six-hour of service commitment is a great way to develop leadership and project coordination skills while meeting new people in the community.

Since 1989, KTBB has provided bay-area residents of all ages with opportunities for meaningful service. Tampa Bay Beautification, founded in 1989, and Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful, founded in 1992, merged in 2012 to form KTBB.

Last year, more than 16,000 KTBB volunteers took part in 972 community projects throughout Tampa Bay.

Damico added that this year the organization has developed a Marine Debris Tracker app that volunteers are now encouraged to download on their mobile devices available both the Google Play and Apple stores to collect data on litter removal.

During last year’s Coastal Clean Up, 4,928 volunteers collected 18,837 lbs. of miscellaneous debris (wood, metal, tires, etc.) from around 86 clean up locations that included 1,746 acres of park, 56 acres of wetland, 41 miles of shorelines, nearly 30 miles of roadways and 37 acres of trails. The total number of trash bags filled amounted to 2,876.

KTBB officials also want to thank volunteers for their participation in the July 5th, After Fireworks Cleanup that has resulted in the cleanup of more than 10 acres of park land, 4 miles of trails and prevented more than 2,149 lbs. of litter and debris from entering into Tampa Bay.

World Oceans Day, on Saturday, June 11 had 512 volunteers remove 25,501 lbs. of marine debris from locations along the Hillsborough River, McKay Bay, the Garrison and Seddon channels and Tampa Bay. 

“We could not accomplish all of this without our willing, hardworking volunteers,” Damico said.

For more information or to get the registration link, email Damico at tdamico@keeptbb.org.