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    Posted October 8, 2010

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Solidarity in the Sand

by Irene Adjan, South Florida Equity Liaison

On September 25th, a small group of Equity members gathered at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup sponsored by Ocean Conservancy.

Ocean Conservancy leads the world's most amazing grassroots cleanup effort. 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—and collect data on what they find. During this signature event, hundreds of thousands of volunteers from countries all over the world spend a day picking up everything from cigarette butts and food wrappers to lost fishing nets and major appliances. Each year volunteers collect more than a million beverage bottles from beaches, shorelines, and underwater in just one day.

Four Equity members - Heidi Harris, Ed Limia, Stephen G. Neal and myself, along with Stephens wife Mary Ann, met at 8:45am to participate in this terrific event. We not only picked up trash, but recorded every item we found on a standardized data card, provided by the organization. Ocean Conservancy compiles and analyzes the data each year, and publishes the world’s only item-by-item, location-by-location snapshot of marine debris in an annual report. By understanding what is out there, they can work on solutions. I’d say the item we picked up the most of was cigarette butts – literally hundreds! We also picked up pieces of plastic, Q-tips, candy wrappers, straws, and bottle caps, among other things.

The weather was a bit overcast and not too hot, so it made for a beautiful morning on the beach doing something good for the environment. Participant Heidi Harris aptly coined the event "Solidarity in the Sand."

Photo left to right: Mary Ann Neal, Stephen G. Neal, Heidi Harris, Ed Limia, and Irene Adjan

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