Annapolis, MD – Marylanders are being urged to get outdoors this week and do their part to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. July 7-13 is the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland’s first Chesapeake Cleanup Week, and Marylanders are being encouraged to recruit family and friends to clean up litter at sites along the state's largest body of water, with events culminating in a tournament on Saturday (July 13). Comments from Maggie Hughes, assistant director, Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland.
The event supports efforts of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, which promises to restore clean water to the bay by 2025. Maggie Hughes with C-C-A says recent cleanups in Baltimore and sites around the bay have uncovered an excessive amount of plastic straws and bottles.
"The majority of the stuff we’re finding is single-use plastics that people are literally using every day. And you know, if they’re just not disposed of properly, unfortunately, they’re going to flow right into the waterway."
The cleanup comes in the same week that the Environmental Protection Agency said draft bay-cleanup plans created by watershed states might not make the mark to deliver a healthy Chesapeake by 2025. The E-P-A says Maryland’s plan meets its nutrient-reduction goals, but needs to offer more information on how it will control farm runoff into the bay.
Some people are sharing their cleanup results through a special app called iAngler Tournament, Hughes says. The app is normally used to photograph catch-and-release fish – but this week, folks are documenting the trash they find along the bay. Hughes says it's alarming to see so much plastic, which harms the ecosystem when marine life eats it.
"Once it gets into their stomachs, then we're in trouble. The body’s not meant to digest plastic. It’s actually getting into the tissues of the animals as well, you know. We’re fishing or eating those fish, and it’s getting into our bodies."
On Saturday morning, C-C-A is hosting cleanup activities at three sites on the bay – Red Bridges in Greensboro; Truxtun Park in Annapolis; and Solomons Public Boat Ramp on Solomons Island.