International Coastal Cleanup Day makes a return

At one Dolphin Encounters-led coastal cleanup, volunteers tackled trash on Yamacraw’s shores.

It’s that time of year again – and we’re not talking ‘back to school’. Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC) is sneaking up quickly, and Dolphin Encounters is taking it ‘back to the beach’ on Saturday, September 19 for a day of seaside environmental action.

A global event, the ICC takes place annually. According to Ocean Conservancy’s website, in 2013, 648,015 volunteers showed up to rake in 12.3 million pounds of litter. Last year, 561,895 volunteers in 91 countries picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash. While the total number of volunteers was lower than the previous year, the amount of trash collected increased by 3.7 million pounds.

This year, Dolphin Encounters is again doing its part to bring volunteer numbers up, raise awareness of the implications of littering on the marine environment and play a part in beautifying a popular public spot.

The Dolphin Encounters team will return this year to South Beach, where, with the public’s help, it hopes to positively impact locals and natural life.

“The Bahamas has participated for many years in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, and we will again this year to make a difference to our marine environment,” said Linzi Knowles Belton, assistant director of marine education for Dolphin Encounters and the Nassau-based ICC coordinator.

This year is a particularly special one, as it marks ICC’s 30th anniversary and the three-decades-long commitment of volunteers and activists around the world to congregate with trash bags and a common goal: pollution prevention and a healthier ocean.

Those interested in making a difference are invited to join forces with Dolphin Encounters on Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at South Beach near the pools. Free bus transportation from both the Mall at Marathon and Town Centre Mall will be provided and buses depart the locations every 30 minutes, starting at 7:30 a.m.

Volunteers are reminded to protect their helping hands with gardening gloves and wear closed-toe shoes and sunblock. Bringing a water bottle is also advised.

Schools keen on getting students involved in hands-on conservation commitments are invited to dive into Dolphin Encounters’ Beach Buddies program. Going on for one month, the Beach Buddies program is a component of Dolphin Encounters’ Project BEACH. Project BEACH (The Bahamas Education Association for Cetacean Health) is a non-profit affiliate of Dolphin Encounters whose mission is to provide engaging opportunities for marine education. The Beach Buddies program gives classes the option of choosing a beach from a list of local beaches in need of clean-up. Led by Dolphin Encounters staff, the students collect debris and litter from the area. They can then use the data from their clean-up efforts in classroom research projects to predict trends of the impact of marine debris.

For more information on International Coastal Cleanup Day, Dolphin Encounters Beach Buddies program or to volunteer with Dolphin Encounters on Saturday, September 19, contact Lashanti Jupp or Linzi Knowles-Belton at or call 363-7180 ext. 303.