September 21st, 2019
On Saturday, September 21st 2019, United By Blue hosted two cleanups with Rozalia Project along Lake Champlain in Burlington Vermont. This cleanup was part of Coastal Cleanup Day, which started over 30 years ago and is now celebrated in over 100 counties annually. All data we collected from this event was submitted to The ICC (International Coastal Cleanup) report. This report offers insight to the issue of global water pollution and gives measurable examples of its impact.
With a city as clean as Burlington we divided our cleanup into two parts to meet the need of the city. Half of our volunteers met at North Beach Park, which is a local beach where residents and visitors swim. The second half met at Oakledge Park on the other side of town offering bike trails, tennis courts and other amenities. At first glance both parks appeared to be free of any debris or litter, but upon volunteers efforts bags started to fill up with all sorts of plastic items.
Following wind patterns that Rozalia Project studied in the past year, we were able to anticipate where our impact would be best utilized. In the inlets that were identified, we removed over 18,000 items of debris. These items included 16,986 pieces of plastic, 46 items of fishing gear and 58 glass bottles among other things. At North Beach park glass is banned on the beach, however volunteers still found 35 glass bottles, demonstrating the power water has to move debris around.
Once bags were full, we hauled everything to Church Street Market for the second portion of the event. With direction from Rozalia Project, we dumped all of our reusable bags onto tarps to sort and count everything pulled from the lake. In order to gain knowledge from the data, we sorted each parks trash separately. For example, at North Beach we removed 45 pieces of fishing gear compared to only 1 piece at Oakledge. This insight offers a chance to provide information for future cleanup efforts, while also showcasing to the hundreds of people walking through Church Street Market that even Lake Champlain feels the impact of plastic pollution. Check out the timelapse of the sort here!
Thank you to all of our event partners and volunteers for making this an impactful cleanup. A special thank you to Rozalia Project and Outdoor Gear Exchange for hosting us and Ben & Jerry's and Mill River Brewery for volunteer refreshments!
To learn about our next cleanup click here.