One Ton Of Debris Collected In 2nd Marine Plunder

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An abandoned crab pot and small boat were among the finds during last week’s annual debris cleanup. Submitted Photos

WEST OCEAN CITY – Community members joined a local nonprofit last week in collecting more than 2,000 pounds of trash from area waterways and streets.

Last Sunday, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) held its second annual Marine Debris Plunder in celebration of National Estuaries Week.

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While participation was much less than last year, MCBP Outreach and Marketing Coordinator Sandi Smith said attendees were still able to collect more than one ton of trash, including a dilapidated dingy and a paddle boat.

“We were a little disappointed in the participation, but there was a lot going on that weekend,” she said. “But with that being said, the teams that collected the most amount of trash last year came back this year and didn’t disappoint.”

In 2020, MCBP – in partnership with Blue Water Development and Pure Lure Reel Fishing Gear – hosted its first annual Marine Debris Plunder, a day-long event that engages the community in picking up debris found in the waterways and streets and bringing it to one location to be weighed and disposed of properly.

Traveling by both land and sea, Smith said the majority of this year’s participants covered the areas of the St. Martins River and Cape Isle of Wight Bay.MarinePlunder

“This cleanup is focused on abandoned crab pots, so the most common debris collected were crab pots,” she said. “MCBP has recently received funding to engage the community on a marine debris outreach program to garner more support on educating the community on the perils of abandoned pots and create a process for the community to collect and dispose debris.”

Smith recognized several groups – including the Howell, Odachowski, Baker, McConnell, Ennis, Burbage, Smith, Woodward and VanHoose teams – for participating in this year’s Marine Debris Plunder. She also acknowledged the assistance of Captain Jack Sparrow, the volunteer efforts of Salisbury University’s Theta Chi Fraternity and partnerships with Worcester County Government and Goody Hill.

“This year, the county was key in helping us secure the location and dispose of the debris properly,” she said. “Goody Hill was very generous to donate their services of a container and the transportation to dispose of the debris.”

Because of this year’s reduced participation, several Marine Debris Plunder participants will now be part of a committee to create a bigger and better event in 2022. Smith said those interested in joining the group can contact sandis@mdcoastalbays.org or call 410-213-2297 ext. 106.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.