Alabama Coastal Cleanup is happening this weekend—here’s why it’s important

Alabama Coastal Cleanup
The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is an important annual event. (Alabama Coastal Foundation / Facebook)

On September 16, Alabama’s coast and beaches will be transformed in a matter of hours—four hours, to be exact. The annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup is back for its 36th year, and it’s going to be another impactful day. Here’s what you need to know.

Alabama Coastal Cleanup gathers thousands of pounds of debris

Alabama Coastal Cleanup
The impact of the Alabama Coastal cleanup is enormous. (Alabama Coastal Foundation / Facebook)

Each year, Alabama volunteers come together for some unusual—but important—beach trips. The Alabama Coastal Cleanup extends all the way from Dauphin Island, up through Mobile and down the coast to Orange Beach. With over two dozen cleanup zones, it makes a huge impact on the beauty of Alabama’s coast.

To give you an idea of how important this day is, volunteers gathered 26,366 pounds of trash from Alabama coastal cleanup sites at the 34th annual event in 2021.

Across its 35 years of existence, here is a snapshot of the Alabama Coastal Cleanup by the numbers:

  • 106,045 volunteers participated
  • 6,285 miles of coastline cleaned
  • 1,737,734 pounds of debris removed

Needless to say, this event is huge for keeping Alabama’s beaches pristine.

What the experience is like at the Alabama Coastal Cleanup

Alabama Coastal Cleanup
Cleaning up Alabama beaches is an important part of keeping them pristine. (Alabama Coastal Foundation / Facebook)

If you’re curious about how it works, we asked Mark Berte, executive director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation, what the experience is like. He explained that, in essence, you spend four hours picking up debris and litter in one of the Alabama coastal zones.

“It’s a great way to to enjoy our environment but also give back to make it make sure it’s clean for us to enjoy, not only now but for years to come.”

Mark Berte, executive director, Alabama Coastal Foundation

Alabama Coastal Cleanup provides the materials necessary to help out as well as instructions and safety guidelines, and volunteers get a free t-shirt afterward.

Berte explained that the cleanup helps to reduce the amount of debris that makes its way into the waters. This, in turn, reduces the amount of harm done to marine life from litter. For instance, sea turtles can think that grocery bags are jellyfish, try to eat them and unfortunately die.

How you can participate in the 2023 Alabama Coastal Cleanup

Alabama Coastal Cleanup
This important event on Alabama’s coast brings the community together each year. (Alabama Coastal Foundation / Facebook)

If you’re ready to participate, here’s how.

  • Visit Alabama Coastal Cleanup’s website.
  • Choose the location you’d like to help clean up + get connected with the zone captain via the provided contact information.
  • Show up on Saturday, September 16 to your zone check-in to get started on cleanup, 8AM-noon.

Even if you’re not able to make it down to the coast this weekend, there are other ways you can help. Visit the Alabama Coastal Foundation’s website to get involved in everything they have going on, donate and learn from their resources on how to prevent pollution and more.

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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