BankBoston Sponsors COASTSWEEP '97.
10th Annual Clean-up of Massachusetts Beaches to be held Sept. 20
On Saturday Sept. 20, more than 5,000 volunteers are expected to line the beaches of Massachusetts to participate in COASTSWEEP `97. The 10th annual event, organized by Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (MCZM) with lead support from BankBoston, is a volunteer effort and part of the International Beach Cleanup Program. For the past 10 years, environmental groups, civic organizations, schools and businesses have joined forces to care for Massachusetts' marine environment by clearing trash and other debris from beaches across the state. In 1996, 5,000 volunteers cleared 248 miles of shoreline, that amounted to 54,733 pounds of trash and debris.
"The thousands of volunteers who clean up our beaches with COASTSWEEP make a big difference to the thousands more who enjoy sand and sun," said Governor Paul Cellucci. "Safe beaches and clean water make Massachusetts' coast one of the Atlantic's gems and COASTSWEEP ensures it stays that way."
"Keeping our beaches, coastline and harbor clean and inviting is both an economic necessity and a public priority," said Ira Jackson, executive vice president at BankBoston. "All of us need to realize that it is a privilege to live in an area where resources are so accessible to residents and visitors, and that we all bear some responsibility for keeping the marine environment clean. BankBoston has a history of supporting causes similar to this one, such as the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Partnership, that help preserve our natural resources. We are pleased to provide volunteer support to COASTSWEEP `97 through our Eagle Corps Employee Volunteer Program as well as other in-kind assistance."
A key component of COASTSWEEP `97 is the survey of debris recorded by the volunteers. The data are sent to the Center for Marine Conservation in Washington D.C. where it is entered into a massive marine debris database. This information is used to identify sources of marine debris to help prevent problems in the future.
From the data collected each year, a list called the "Dirty Dozen" is compiled of the most frequently found items. Along Massachusetts beaches, last year's list included: cigarette butts; plastic food bags and wrappers; plastic pieces; foamed plastic pieces; glass pieces; plastic caps and lids; paper pieces; plastic rope; plastic straws; plastic beverage bottles; glass beverage bottles and metal beverage cans.
Although the "Dirty Dozen" list changes from year to year, one item that consistently appears at the top is cigarette butts. Throughout the life of COASTSWEEP, cigarette butts have comprised 15 to 20 percent of all items collected and catalogued. Not all cigarette butts found on beaches are necessarily left by beachgoers. They can also be carried in stormwater from city streets and other waterways. Butts are not just an aesthetic problem. They have been found in the stomachs of birds, whales, and other marine creatures.
On a positive note, the 800,358 cigarette butts collected throughout the U.S. in the 1995 cleanup, represents a 3.06 percent decrease from 1994. In Massachusetts, numbers also dropped from 47,410 in 1994 to 39,632 in 1995. The public awareness campaigns, created by COASTSWEEP as well as other environmental efforts, appear to have had a positive effect in reducing the number of cigarette butts citizens improperly discard. But a lot of work still remains to rid the beaches of these and other items.
Over the past 10 years, COASTSWEEP has grown in a way that reflects the commitment that the people of Massachusetts have to the coastal environment. Participation grew from 391 volunteers in 1987 to 2,340 in 1989. Since 1989, the number of participants has more than doubled to 5,411 in 1996. In 1997, even more volunteers are expected to line the 250 miles of Massachusetts shoreline. Dive clubs throughout the state will also help clean up at a number of underwater sites.
If interested in participating in COASTSWEEP `97, volunteers can call the MCZM information line at (617) 727-9530, ext. 420 and get a list of the cleanup sites throughout the state.
BankBoston (NYSE:BKB), with assets of $66.1 billion as of June 30, 1997, was founded in 1784 and is the 15th-largest bank holding company in the United States. BankBoston is engaged in: consumer banking in southern New England; financing to selected corporations regionally, nationally and internationally; and full-service banking in key Latin American markets. The Corporation and its subsidiaries operate through a network of offices in the United States and through more than 100 offices in 23 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia, the third-largest overseas network of any U.S. bank. The Corporation's common and preferred stocks are listed on the New York and Boston stock exchanges.
Diane Greer, 617/788-7823
Heather Clish, 617/727-9530, ext 458