Come down and lend a hand to the volunteers who will be cleaning the beaches and bays this Saturday, September 15th.   Friends of the Bay, the Oyster Bay Sail and Power Squadron, the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association and the Town of Oyster Bay are going to be working together to clean debris that may have accumulated over the summer.  This is part of an international effort to clean the world’s beaches and to make people aware of the impact litter and debris has on the marine environment.  At this Fall Cleanup volunteers will be asked to document the debris that is picked up.  This information is sent to the Ocean Conservancy, which compiles the information.  “The most important thing we have learned from documenting the trash picked up, is that most marine debris is created by careless and irresponsible disposal.  The problem is almost entirely preventable.  The number one item picked up worldwide is cigarette butts, followed by plastic water bottles.  Both of these have a terrible impact on the water and marine life” said Patricia Aitken, Executive Director of Friends of the Bay.

The good news is that many people are willing to help repair the damage done.  “The fall harbor cleanup is a popular event, with volunteers and Town employees rolling up their sleeves (and, in some case, pants legs) to conduct a thorough cleanup of beaches and shoreline areas along Oyster Bay harbor,” Supervisor Venditto stated. “While some people walk along the shoreline collecting debris, others work from boats, picking up trash and even discarded boats. It’s quite inspiring to see people of all ages pitching in to help keep the harbor and beaches clean.”

“Oyster Bay Harbor is an important natural resource, providing recreational and commercial opportunities, as well as serving as critical habitat for shellfish, fish and other types of marine life,” Supervisor Venditto stated. “The beach cleanups help preserve the scenic beauty of the beaches and shoreline areas and help improve water quality by removing debris. They also reduce potential harm to coastal wildlife and marine life. Sea birds and fish can become fatally entangled in garbage such as discarded fishing line or six pack yokes. They may also mistake small pieces like bits of Styrofoam or plastic jugs, balloons or plastic bags for food and ingest them, usually with fatal results.”

“If you swim, boat or fish in Oyster Bay Harbor, or just want to help protect and enhance the beauty and environmental integrity of this beautiful waterway, I invite you to join us,” Supervisor Venditto said. “If you can’t stay for the entire day, even a couple of hours will make a difference. And, you will leave with the satisfaction of knowing that you helped improve the environment and ensure that our beaches and harbor will be preserved for your enjoyment and the enjoyment of generations to come.”

Jim Schultz of the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association said the baymen will be there to help clean up the harbor.  They are very supportive of this effort.

So come down and lend a hand!  We’ll be meeting at the Gazebo in Theodore Roosevelt Park near the boat launch ramps at 8:30 am. Please bring work gloves.