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Beach Clean-Up Kicks Off Long Island Sound Anti-Pollution Campaign

Davis Dunavin
Karri Beauton, with the Mystic Aquarium, gathers trash from Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven on Thursday.

Environmental advocates for Long Island Sound launched an anti-pollution campaign focused on plastic, with a cleanup at Lighthouse Point Beach in New Haven, Connecticut, this week.

Kids splash in the water as volunteers comb the sand and nearby picnic tables looking for litter. Karri Beauton, with the Mystic Aquarium, spent the morning scooping up trash from the beach. Rifling through a bag, she finds “a lot of water bottles, a bunch of balloons, kids’ plastic little shovels, straws, especially the small straws from the sippy cups…Lot of junk. You know, all plastic.”

Advocates say plastic waste is one of the biggest threats to the delicate balance of Long Island Sound’s plant and animal life.

“It’s an urban sea, but it’s also a migratory pathway for so many important birds that use our beaches. Piping plovers, American oyster catchers. And they need us to protect them from things like plastic waste,” says Robert Burg with the Long Island Sound Study. 

Judy Preston, with Connecticut Sea Grant, a group that supports coastal research and education, says she sees more public awareness every year of how much harm plastic can do to the Sound.

“And that’s plastics that are what we’re collecting here today, but it’s also microplastics and nanoplastics, that are things that are broken down and actually consumed by wildlife.”

Preston says one good sign is Connecticut’s new law restricting the use of plastic bags at grocery stores.