PROVINCETOWN — Lumber, Crocs, fishing gear, medical tubing, broken beach chairs, and beer cans were among the three truckloads of trash gathered in two hours’ time by volunteers at Herring Cove Beach on Jan. 14. Afterwards, the group’s gleanings were counted and logged in a database at the Center for Coastal Studies.
Laura Ludwig, who manages the center’s Marine Debris and Plastics Program, organized the cleanup effort to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. Thirty-three volunteers scoured the beach on a cold, wet Saturday morning, and 17 people stayed on to sort and count the debris.
Distinguishing details about the debris and cataloging quantities, for example of rope versus net, is important, said Ludwig: “It comes in handy to effect changes in behavior or policies, such as has happened with balloon releases, single-use plastic water bottles, or plastic straws.”
In an early, unofficial report on the tally, Ludwig said that 600 bottle caps and 200 balloons were among the detritus collected. One dead Kemp’s ridley turtle was found and reported to Mass Audubon, she said, and a pair of yellow wings were confirmed by Provincetown naturalist Dennis Minsky to have belonged to a Northern flicker.