Looking for something to do on a Saturday? Take a walk on the beach and volunteer for a beach cleanup at Jenness Beach in Rye.
Hosted by Blue Ocean Society, a non-profit environmental group in Portsmouth, beach cleanups are ongoing throughout the year and occur once a month. About 40 minutes from Manchester, Jenness is a popular family beach with its pristine sand and a spectacular view of the Isles of Shoals. Sometimes a tanker or barge can be viewed making its way into Portsmouth Harbor.
Marine animals are in great jeopardy from either becoming entangled in fishing line, or ingesting plastic and other human refuse, much of which comes from the mainland. Careless visitors to the beach are creating a quagmire for the marine animals without even knowing it. Even inland refuse can find its way to the ocean by way of rivers and tributaries such as the Merrimack River that flows through Concord, Manchester and Lowell into the Atlantic Ocean.
Blue Ocean Society hosts the event every month, documents the items collected and weighs them. Results are used in determining what can be done to reduce the dangers to marine life, thus preserving the ecological balance upon which we all depend. The group has recently begun a recycling program for monofilament fishing line with boxes located at local marinas.
A particular problem highlighted by the results of the beach cleanup program is the huge number of cigarette butts tossed onto the sand. The filters contain plastics, fiberglass and other manmade materials which do not biodegrade quickly (if at all) and may often be ingested by the seabirds, fish and other marine animals. This kind of debris can be toxic to marine digestive systems and can even affect reproduction. Cigarette butts have been consistently picked up at Jenness Beach numbering in the tens of thousands per year. In response, State Representative Judith Day is currently sponsoring a bill to prohibit smoking at NH beaches.
The next beach cleanup at Jenness Beach is scheduled for Saturday, February 13th at 10:30 AM. The cleanup takes about two hours from start to finish and is a great way to introduce the kids to environmental awareness. The organization supplies gloves and trash bags for participants along with free refreshments. You may bring your own supplies if you would like to help out. Wear warm, comfortable clothes and bring a camera. Bring the family; all ages are welcome. For more information about Blue Ocean Society or to sign up for a beach cleanup visit: http://www.blueoceansociety.org.