Oregon beaches are ready for summer after shedding close to 23 tons on Saturday. Over 4,500 volunteers helped clear the entire Oregon coast of trash at the annual SOLVE Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup. An estimated 45,955 pounds of debris was removed, including 14 tires.
An Oregon tradition for 30 years, the twice-annual coast wide beach cleanups have seen nearly 225,000 Oregon volunteers remove an estimated 2.8 million pounds of trash from our beaches since 1984.
"None of this work would be possible without the dedicated Zone and Beach Captains that lead thousands of volunteers across 47 cleanup sites," said Joy Irby, Program Coordinator for SOLVE. "The success of this event truly belongs to everyone that participated."
The most common items found were cigarette butts, fishing ropes, and plastic bottles. Interesting items found by volunteers included telephone poles, the remains of a sunken crab vessel in Brookings, a large semi-truck tire at Glenedan Beach, and a 200 pound block of Styrofoam in Netarts Bay.
SOLVE once again worked with over 60 volunteers from Portland Shokookai and the Japan-America Society of Oregon, a partnership that has been indispensable in the years following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
"So many Oregonians have a deep bond with our Japanese friends whose lives and livelihoods were so affected by the tragic disasters of March 11, 2011. By coming together for the beach cleanup with SOLVE, we now have a framework of committed volunteers from many Japan-related organizations in our community who support efforts along our Oregon beaches now and in the future," said Dixie McKeel, Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Oregon.
Due to shared ocean currents, marine debris impacts coastlines across the North Pacific Ocean, washing up on both the shores of Japan and the West Coast of the United States. "The SOLVE cleanup is a wonderful opportunity to work together and promote mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries," added McKeel.
The non-profit, Washed Ashore, took debris from several check-in sites to turn into art at their Bandon facility. Due to their efforts, over 5,000 pounds of debris will be kept from landfills.