To participate in a Carteret County Big Sweep cleanup, contact coordinator Dee Smith 252-222-6365. Photo: Carteret Big Sweep

Carteret Big Sweep is calling on volunteers to #ConnectAndCollect as part of Ocean Conservancy’s 36th International Coastal Cleanup, or ICC, a worldwide cleanup effort.

The county-run Carteret Big Sweep works to educate the public on litter and encourage cleanups.

Volunteers are asked to either join a scheduled cleanup or lead their own to remove trash from roadsides, waterways, beaches and the ocean and record their findings in the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app, a marine debris database, available for free download from the App Store and Google Play.

“This year’s ICC is a time to safely reconnect with our ocean and our loved ones while helping to remove debris from roadsides, beaches and waterways,” said Dee Smith, Carteret Big Sweep’s coordinator in a statement.  “We highlight this annual event to bring awareness to the growing litter and marine debris problem by bringing the community together for one day.  Additionally, Carteret Big Sweep and Carteret County has continued year-round efforts to keep our county clean with ongoing events and programs.” 

Register your individual, household or business-sponsored cleanup online or join one of the following public cleanups for ICC Sept. 18 Carteret County:

  • Iron Steamer Beach Access, Pine Knoll Shores 8 a.m.
  • 10th Street Beach Access, Morehead 9 a.m.
  • Gallants Channel Maritime Property, Beaufort 9 a.m.
  • Atlantic Beach Circle, Atlantic Beach 9 a.m.
  • Cape Carteret Aquatic Center, Cape Carteret 11 a.m.

Every year an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean, impacting more than 800 marine species and even entering the food chain, according to the release. During the last 35 years of the ICC, more than 16.5 million volunteers have joined cleanup efforts to remove 344 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide. In 2020, Carteret County collected and recorded 42,789 pounds of trash and debris. 

“No matter where you are or the size of your cleanup, every piece of trash collected by ICC volunteers helps to stem the tide of plastic entering our ocean,” said Allison Schutes, director of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup in a release. “We’re excited to be able to come together for this year’s ICC, both through community cleanups events and small group cleanups; and we are so grateful for the efforts of Carteret Big Sweep and all the Carteret County volunteers in helping us achieve our shared vision for a cleaner, healthier ocean.”

To schedule a group cleanup or learn more about the scheduled cleanups, visit Big Sweep’s Facebook page or contact Dee Smith 252-222-6365. 

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