Westport beach clean up yields cigarette butts, fishing gear and more

WESTPORT — Cigarette butts, food wrappers and plastic bags were among the 76 pounds worth of trash cleaned up from about 2.5 miles of Sherwood Island State Park Saturday, as part of a cleanup organized by Save the Sound.

Nearly 60 volunteers showed up at the event, one of several Save the Sound sponsored on Saturday. Other cleanups included those at Keney Park in Hartford and Clinton Town Beach.

The events are part of the larger Connecticut Cleanup, an annual event that aims to keep trash away from wildlife and out of the water. Over the past eight years, 15,500 volunteers have removed almost 110,000 pounds of trash from Connecticut’s shoreline, according to Save the Sound.

Sherwood Island is a popular site for cleanups, said Anthony Allen, assistant director of ecological restoration for Save the Sound, an organization the works to protect the air, water and land of Connecticut and Long Island Sound.

“There’s a lot of work can be done there, because it’s such a big park,” Allen said of Sherwood Island.

The majority of items found at Sound cleanups are small bits of trash, and the Sherwood Island event was no exception. According to the Save the Sound report, items removed by volunteers included 204 cigarette butts, 182 food wrappers, and 19 plastic grocery bags. Other items found included three pieces of personal protective equipment (such as gloves and masks) and 33 pieces of fishing gear.

A total of 15 bags of trash were removed from the park.

The cleanup captains for the Westport event were Cecilia Duffy and Bethann Camillo, both teachers in the Staples High School science department. Duffy said residents of 12 towns, including Scarsdale, N.Y. came to the event, and that there was a group from Trumbull getting their community service hours through the event.

Saturday’s event was a productive one, Duffy said. “There was a lot of microplastic along the wracklines if you sift through the seaweed,” she said.

Another cleanup will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Long Wharf food truck area. For information on more Save the Sound cleanups, visit https://www.savethesound.org/take-action/upcoming-events/.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the name of the organization is Save the Sound.