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City gears up for massive coastal cleanup volunteer effort

Annual event collects thousands of pounds of debris from waterways

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – You can help clean up the beaches and waterways around Northeast Florida this weekend as part of the 2019 Florida Coastal Cleanup.

"Hundreds of volunteers come out to about 20 plus sites. They pick up litter, they improve the environment, and it's just a win-win situation for everybody," said Dan Durbec, environmental programs specialist with the city of Jacksonville.

Volunteers around town are gearing up for the statewide cleanup that's part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup this Saturday. 

Keep Jacksonville Beautiful will focus on picking up trash near all waterways in the River City. 

"The most important thing to remember is that everything that lands on the ground is eventually going to end up in a waterway. And that waterway may go to the St. Johns River or it may go the ocean, the Atlantic Ocean. And we want to prevent that from happening because when that happens it just affects the environment, affects the marine life," said Durbec. 

When volunteers arrive at a cleanup site Saturday, they'll receive a pair of gloves, a blue bag, a bucket, and other materials that are needed to pick up trash. 

Locally last year, 505 volunteers donated 1,006 hours and collected 8,530 pounds of trash. 

To put that in perspective, that weight is equivalent to about 550 bowling balls or more than two cars. 

City representatives said that trash on the ground doesn't just affect the environment, it also affects your pockets, too.

"Every piece of trash on the ground has a dollar value to it. Our volunteer value is over $25 per hour for a volunteer to pick that stuff up. Last year, during the international coastal clean up in Jacksonville, in Duval County, we picked up enough trash that totaled about $35,000 worth of cost avoidance to taxpayers. So trash on the ground, yes it affects the environment, but it also affects the economy of things, so that's why it's really important to pick these things up," said Durbec. 

Keep Jacksonville Beautiful reminds people to throw away those cigarette butts. The organizations said cigarettes are the most littered item in the world. 

Last year more than 5 million cigarette butts were collected during the international clean up.

The Coastal Cleanup locations and times are listed below. Volunteers just need to show up during the cleanup and register to get the cleanup materials so they can pitch in.

Oceanfront locations: 8 to 10 a.m.

Jacksonville Beach Pier
503 N. First St.

Atlantic Boulevard
At the ocean

Seagate Avenue & 20th Avenue N.
At the ocean

Fort Caroline National Memorial: 7 to 9 a.m.

12713 Fort Caroline Road

NS Mayport Jetties: 8 to 11 a.m.

Pavilion No. 3 on Bon Homme Richard Street
Across from Damage Control Wet Trainer Facility
(Volunteers must have base access or arrange base access.)

All other locations: 9 to 11 a.m.

Blue Cypress Park
4012 University Boulevard N.

Boone Park
3700 Park St.

Burnett Park
3740 Burnett Park Road

Castaway Island Preserve
2921 San Pablo Road S.

Hollybrook Park
319 Cherokee St.

Catherine Hester McNair Park (Brentwood Park)
551 W. 25th St.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
500 Wonderwood Drive
Atlantic Beach

Henry J. Klutho Park
204 W. Third St.

Mandarin Park
14780 Mandarin Road

Murray Hill
Meet at Community Loaves Bakery
1120 Edgewood Ave.

Mike McCue Boat Ramp
2510 Second Ave. N.

Northbank Riverwalk at Sydney J. Gefen Park 
504 Alfred DuPont Place

Reddie Point Preserve 
4499 Yachtsman Way

Riverview Community Center & Park
9620 Water St.

Walter Jones Historic Park
11964 Mandarin Road

Yacht Basin Park
2941 St. Johns Ave.

*Note: Locations and times are subject to change.


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