cleanup

Thousands of pounds of storm-related debris were collected by volunteers during the cleanup of the Coral Bay Mangroves shoreline on Saturday.

More than 20 volunteers removed more than 3,000 pounds of debris from the Coral Bay Mangroves shoreline during St. John Great Mangrove Cleanup, according to the University of the Virgin Islands Center for Marine and Environmental Studies.

“This is the most debris removed by weight from community cleanups of USVI mangroves to date,” Kristin Wilson Grimes, research assistant professor of Watershed Ecology at the university’s Center for Marine and Environmental Studies.

The cleanup follows “the success of previous mangrove cleanups on St. Thomas, and St. Croix where over the past three years events have engaged more than 375 volunteers who have removed more than 7,300 pounds, bringing to a grand total of 5.4 tons of debris removed from mangroves shorelines across the territory,” according to Grimes.

“This was a tremendous effort by volunteers, despite the rain we experienced on Saturday,” Grimes said of the weekend cleanup. “It really speaks to what a dedicated group can achieve together.”

The university, in a released statement, said that the most common items removed were beverage bottles, plastic pieces and construction materials.

“There were also some unusual finds such as a kayak, a scuba tank, patio chairs, a toilet seat, and 23 “lost soles,” of the foot variety,” according to the release.

In addition to UVI, sponsors of the cleanup were the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Coral Bay Community Council, the Coral Bay Yacht Club, the V.I. Marine Advisory Service, V.I. Waste Management Authority, Virgin Islands EPSCoR, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program.