The TSS is just a couple of weeks away… time for an update on how it’s all going to work and where the need for volunteers is going to be the greatest. It’s a one-day event, but each person’s time during that day will depend on where they are and how much cleaning actually needs to be done.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The photo above shows the basic area of operations. From the Day Island bridge to the beaches of Northeast Tacoma, there are approximately 13 miles of shoreline. (This excludes the tideflats and the Port.) The total distance has been divided into nine sections, some of them smaller than others, some intended to be done by kayak and others to be done on foot.
The goals for the day are simple. First, we’re hoping that the TSS can be used to compile an actual list of types and quantities of debris that is found. The idea is that, if we know what’s there and where it is, we can attempt to find the immediate causes of the problem and direct future cleanup efforts. So, counting is important. We’ll be using the NOAA Marine Debris App as well as paper tally sheets to track our coverage and by the end of the day, we should have a good snapshot of a day in the life of Tacoma’s shoreline.
Second, we are going to do our best to clean it up. After the items of debris have been counted, volunteers are asked to pick them up, bag them and get them off the beach. (If there are items that are to large or too heavy to move, they will be noted for future action, but we’re hoping to get the beaches and shoreline as clean as we can.) Once the bags of debris are removed, the next item of business is to bring them down to the TSS tent on Ruston Way.
Which brings us to the third objective of the day: the weighing and sorting. We would like to end up with the total weight of debris found, actual counts of specific items (cigarette butts, for example), and with the items sorted, either to be recycled or sent to the landfill.
So that’s the outline, the overall big picture. I hope that answers those kinds of questions. In Update #2, coming in this space tomorrow, we’ll get into more details: where each section starts and stops, which sections need more volunteers and which ones are already covered, things like that. Please respond with questions as this series continues and please volunteer if you can spend an hour or two with us on November 10th.
(Thanks to Citizens for a Healthy Bay and South Sound Surfrider for partnering up on this one. This is as grassroots as it gets, folks. Very proud and happy to be in Tacoma!)