On Saturday, January 5th, Clean Ocean Access (COA) held the first beach cleanup of 2019 at Fort Adams State Park, where 54 volunteers helped to collect over 200 pounds of marine debris and litter from the historic site, which is home to famous buildings like the Sail Newport and Eisenhower House and hosts world-renowned events like the Newport Jazz and Newport Folk Festivals.

Despite the cold and rainy Saturday afternoon, the 54 volunteers, including students from Portsmouth, Rogers and Middletown High School, as well as many community members from across Aquidneck Island gathered to kick-off the winter cleanup season and start the New Year on a clean note. Together the volunteers worked to collect 274 pounds of trash from the coastline, including 142 caps and lids, 118 plastic bags, 104 plastic straws and stirrers, and 85 beverage cans.

“I’m always happy to help keep Newport the cleanest city by the sea,” said Kathy Lewis, a long-time COA member and contributor. COA’s beach cleanups are made possible by the generous sponsorship of People’s Credit Union and their support of a clean local economy. Their sponsorship helps fund the beach cleanup program and supplying volunteers with cleanup kits that include items such as, grabbers, gloves, reusable bags, scales and clipboards.

“It was great to do our part and make a minor contribution to clean up our environment. We love being part of the effort,” reflects COA volunteer, Carlos Mustienes, a resident of Aquidneck Island and Madrid, Spain. COA’s local efforts have proved to have international influence as the organization’s mission transcends the borders of Aquidneck Island. “Participating in COA’s cleanups has motivated my daughter and her friends to create the Madrid Urban Youth Cleanup in Spain,” adds Carlos, whose daughter currently lives and studies abroad in Europe and carries on the spirit of environmental stewardship.

The 2019 beach cleanup schedule is available online: http://www.cleanoceanaccess.org/calendar/. COA also actively seeks citizen scientists to join the public access monitoring program to help preserve and protect public access to the shoreline. If you are interested in monitoring access points on Aquidneck Island sign up to volunteer online at: www.cleanoceanaccess.org/action/volunteer/.

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