Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oregon Coast Cleanup has Added Urgency Because of Tsunami Debris

                                                                                      The tsunami dock at Newport gets dismantled.

That twice-yearly massive undertaking on the Oregon coast – the SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup – happens again on September 22, and this time it's acquired a new urgency because of the Japanese tsunami debris that has started to make landfall this spring. The Fall Beach and Cleanup takes place all over the Oregon coast that day, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as many coastal rivers and inland riverside shores.

SOLVE is asking for volunteers to help scour the miles and miles of accessible Oregon beaches. Volunteers will meet at designated areas before the cleaning begins, obtain the necessary bags and other tools, and then be set loose to pic up stuff off the beaches and rivers. You can register to volunteer or find out more information about participating at

This year, the Fall Cleanup is presented by the Oregon Lottery.

"Tsunami debris adds a new spotlight to our efforts," said Tom Koecher, SOLVE Board President. “But our focus also includes all types of marine debris as well as cleanup and restoration work along Oregon's rivers and streams all across the state."

SOLVE has been part of the Oregon Marine Debris Team that was formed this year to deal with the incoming wave of objects. The team also includes Surfrider Foundation, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Oregon Sea Grant and Washed Ashore.

"Taking care of our beautiful beaches and rivers has always been a priority for Oregonians," said Tom. "It's great to see everyone pitching in. This year, with the tsunami in the news, it's even more important."

The meeting points will be different in each town. For instance, those wanting to help scour the Cannon Beach area will meet at the Cannon Beach City Hall on Gower St. Some towns, like Cannon Beach, actually have two meeting areas: the other is the Tolovana Wayside.

Meeting places are set up from Warrenton to Brookings, and include Newport, Depoe Bay, Yachats, Florence, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Netarts, Pacific City, Seaside, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach and more.

Those wanting to help clean river shores inland can also assist. For example, in Beaverton, the meeting place is Salix Park. Other major and minor river areas

If you can't volunteer, you can still make donations to SOLVE to offset the cost of supplies and organization.

Last year, more than 4,500 Oregonians volunteered at nearly 125 sites across Oregon, cleaning up trash and enhancing watershed health. SOLVE has organized and led beach cleanup efforts since 1984. The organization's work has been cited as a national model for volunteer environmental action.

While tsunami debris may be becoming a bigger problem in the coming months, it's still expected that the vast majority of the garbage will be the usual flotsam and jetsam the washes up on the Oregon coast, as well as tons of unsightly regular problems such as cigarette butts, cans and especially plastics.

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