Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Nets 2,053 Bags of Trash

More than 2,500 volunteers scoured Mississippi’s beaches and waterways picking up marine debris at 68 designated cleanup sites Oct. 20 during the 24th annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, part of the International Coastal Cleanup—the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment. During the 2012 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, 2,545 volunteers picked up 2,053 bags of trash, including 164 bags of recyclables, along 199 miles of Coastal waterways in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties and the barrier islands. The cleanup is organized by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force. The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup returned to the beaches and barrier islands and again expanded its reach through its partnership with Mississippi Power’s Renew Our Rivers program, who cleaned two sites on the days leading up to Saturday’s cleanup and removed more than 10 tons of debris. The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup recycling effort grew from four sites where volunteers collected recyclables during last year’s cleanup to 15 sites this year. Volunteers who participated at these sites collected trash and filled 184 bags with recyclable items.


All told, 2,545 volunteers collected 54,680 pounds of trash including 184 tires—that’s 27.3 tons of marine debris. This included items too large to fit in trash bags such as household appliances. Other items found were: An unopened safe in Gautier, a chandelier with bulbs on Petit Bois Island, kid’s rocking horse, bed pan, dead deer, bowl with food in it, TV, dishwasher, full-size house door, sealed 55-gallon drum, tiki hut, plastic swimming pool, pillow, Swiffer sweeper, Mardi Gras beads, foam, curtain rod and silverware. The most peculiar item found was a sea turtle carcass simulator, a piece of scientific equipment belonging to the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies that had washed up on Deer Island.


During the International Coastal Cleanup, hundreds of thousands of people across the world spend three hours combing the beaches and waterways to pick up trash that pollutes our waters, harms marine life, hampers tourism and poses health risks to beach-goers. During last year’s International Coastal Cleanup, more than 598,076 volunteers worldwide removed more than 9 million pounds of debris from the ocean, rivers, lakes and waterways.


“Trash is one of the biggest threats to the health of our oceans and waterways,” said Lauren Thompson, state coordinator for the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup and public relations director for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “It’s here to stay unless we change our practices. Every piece of trash that is picked up during the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup should be a challenge for change.”


The mission of the International Coastal Cleanup is to remove debris from shorelines, bayous, bays, rivers, waterways and beaches; collect valuable information on the amount and types of debris collected; educate people on the issue of Marine debris; and use the data collected to effect positive change. Volunteers clean beaches and collect information on what they find, using the International Coastal Cleanup Data Card, so that sources of marine debris can be targeted for education or pollution prevention campaigns. State coordinators mail the data cards to the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C. where the data is tabulated. Over the years, data from the cleanups have been used to enact local, state, national, and even international legislation and agreements.


After the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, the Coastal Conservation Association of Mississippi and RPM/Domino’s Pizza treated 360 volunteers to pizza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jones Park in Gulfport. Cabot Cheese, Chiquita Fresh LLC, and Coast Coca-Cola Bottling Co. also provided food and drink for the event.


In Jackson County, 650 volunteers received a free barbecue lunch of pulled pork and beef brisket and chips at the Estuarine Education Center at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gautier courtesy of The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Consolidated provided bottled water for the lunch.


In Hancock County, the Office of Congressman Steven Palazzo and the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club treated volunteers to hotdogs at a cookout held at the Washington St. Pavilion on the beach in Bay St. Louis.


Volunteers, who cleaned the beach and filled out data cards, documenting what litters our shores and waterways, also received a re-usable fold-up lunch bag, compliments of Chevron Pascagoula Refinery.


“The great turnout today and the support that the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has received from the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force and our more than 80 sponsors sends a clear message: Mississippians do care about their coastal environment,” Thompson said.


The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup’s planning committee, the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, is made up of representatives from Ashman & Son, LLC; Chevron Pascagoula Refinery; City of Biloxi; City of Gautier; City of Gulfport; City of Moss Point; City of Ocean Springs; City of Pascagoula; Coastal Rivers; Delbert Hosemann Secretary of State; DMR Marine Patrol; Eco-Tours of South Mississippi; Gautier Pride; Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Gulf Coast Heritage Trails Partnership; Gulf Islands National Seashore; Hancock County Beautification Committee; Hancock County Board of Supervisors; Hancock County Chamber of Commerce; Hancock County Solid Waste; Hands On Mississippi; Harrison County Beautification Commission; Harrison County Board of Supervisors; Harrison County Sand Beach Department; Harrison County Sheriff’s Department; Harrison County Utility Authority; Ingalls Shipbuilding; Jackson County Board of Supervisors; Jackson County Chamber of Commerce; Jackson County Solid Waste Department; Keep Mississippi Beautiful; Keesler Air Force Base; Mississippi Air National Guard CRTC-Gulfport; Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium; Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality; Mississippi Department of Marine Resources; Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; Mississippi Power; Mississippi State University Coastal Research & Extension Center; Naval Construction Battalion Center; North Gulfport Community Land Trust; Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems; Office of Congressman Steven Palazzo; Rotary International District 6840; Sea Coast Echo and University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
Other sponsors include:


SEA TURTLE: BP; Chevron Pascagoula Refinery; Matthews Brothers Inc.; Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality; Mississippi Department of Marine Resources; The Bait Box; Mississippi Power; The Shed Barbeque and Blues Joint


SHARK: Cable One Advertising; Delta Sanitation, A Waste-Pro Company; Lamar Outdoor Advertising-Mississippi Gulf Coast; Mississippi Media; Ocean Conservancy; The Sun Herald; Waste Management


DOLPHIN: Allen Beverages Inc.; Beverage Association of Mississippi; Coast Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Consolidated; Fisher Safety; Milner Rental Center; RPM / Domino’s Pizza; Ship Island Excursions


COBIA: Biloxi-D’Iberville Press; Cabot Cheese; Keep Mississippi Beautiful; K99FM, Magic 93.7, 92.5 The Beat and News Radio 104.9; Kicker 108, Coast 102 and Z95; Knight Abbey Printing & Direct Mail; Ocean Springs Gazette; Sea Coast Echo; The Dive Shop; WLOX-TV 13


MULLET:      Academy Sports & Outdoors; Coast Electric


The preliminary cleanup site statistics for Hancock, Harrison, Jackson counties and the Barrier Islands are as follows:

Hancock County: 18 sites, 318 volunteers collected 341 bags of trash 
• Diamondhead Yacht Club through Rotten Bayou, 11 volunteers and 18 bags
• McLeod State Park, 23 volunteers and 27 bags
• Bay Marina/Washington St., 2 volunteers and unbaggable debris
• 19th Street/Old Lazy River Road, 19 volunteers and 3 bags
• Bayou LaCroix/603/Lagan/Central/Riverview/The Cave, 5 volunteers and 10 bags
• Beach Boulevard from Dunbar Avenue to U.S. 90, 22 volunteers and 17 bags
• Beach Boulevard from Bookter Street to Bay Oaks Drive, 60 volunteers and 33 bags
• Beach Boulevard from U.S. 90 to Bookter Street, 63 volunteers and 26 bags
• Mouth of Jourdan River to Dunbar Avenue, 10 volunteers and 100 bags
• Garden Isles Community, 2 volunteers and 8 bags
• Jordan River Shores and Bayou Talla, 2 volunteers and unbaggable debris
• Jourdan River Estates, 16 volunteers and 12 bags
• Beach Boulevard from Nicholson Avenue to Vacation Lane, 19 volunteers and 16 bags
• Beach Boulevard Bay Oaks Drive to Nicholson Avenue, 21 volunteers and 15 bags
• Beach Boulevard from Vacation Lane to Gulfside Methodist Assembly, 9 volunteers and 8 bags
• Beach Boulevard: Gulfside Methodist Assembly to Buccaneer State Park west, 29 volunteers and 27 bags
• Depot District, 2 volunteers and 21 bags


Harrison County:  18 sites, 871 volunteers collected 627 bags of trash
• Deer Island, 24 volunteers and 42 bags
• Edgewater Mall, 22 volunteers and 10 bags
• Forrest Avenue Pier, 2 volunteers and 2 bags
• Hiller Park, 50 volunteers and 29 bags
• Popp’s Ferry Bridge Boat Launch, 6 volunteers and 10 bags
• Porter Avenue/Lighthouse, 23 volunteers and 12 bags
• Coast Coliseum Beach Comfort Station, 26 volunteers and 17 bags
• D’Iberville Boat Launch, 55 volunteers and 34 bags
• Fountain Pier, 14 volunteers and 8 bags
• Tuxachanie Waterway, 8 volunteers and 7 bags
• Courthouse Road, 136 volunteers and 90 bags
• Dedeaux Park, 28 volunteers and 20 bags
• James Hill Park, 7 volunteers and 6 bags
• Kremer Landing, 5 volunteers and 5 bags
• Lower Turkey Creek, 49 volunteers and 29 bags
• Jones Park East, 128 volunteers and 160 bags
• Long Beach Harbor/Pavilion, 60 volunteers and 60 bags
• Pass Christian Harbor/Highway 90, 228 volunteers and 86 bags


Jackson County:   26 sites, 1,000 volunteers collected 1,008 bags of trash
• Jackson County – Bluff Creek, 15 volunteer and 8 bag
• Jackson County – Grand Bay NERR, 6 volunteers and 6 bags
• Ocean Springs – Fort Bayou Boat Launch & Waterway, 4 volunteers and 2 bags
• Ocean Springs – Gulf Park Estates Public Pier, 136 volunteers and 140 bags
• Ocean Springs – Davis Bayou (GINS), 111 volunteers and 28 bags
• Ocean Springs – Graveline Bayou Pier & Boat Launch, 2 volunteers and 1 bags
• Ocean Springs – East Beach, 36 volunteers and 13 bags
• Ocean Springs – Front Beach Ocean Springs Yacht Club, 113 volunteers and 48 bags
• Ocean Springs – Front Beach Harbor End, 21 volunteers and 25 bags
• Gautier – Gautier City Park, 50 volunteers and 20 bags
• Gautier – Graveline Road/Shepard State Park, 25 volunteers and 30 bags
• Gautier – Indian Point/Sioux Bayou, 12 volunteers and 90 bags
• Gautier – Mary Walker waterways, 30 volunteers and 12 bags
• Gautier – West Pascagoula River Bridge, 68 volunteers and 100 bags
• Moss Point – I-10 Boat Launch, 28 volunteers and 30 bags
• Moss Point – Hwy 63 Boat Launch, 12 volunteers and 16 bags
• Moss Point – River Front, 86 volunteers and 36 bags
• Pascagoula – Old Spanish Fort, 25 volunteers and 25 bags
• Pascagoula – I.G. Levy Park, N., 12 volunteers and 13 bags
• Pascagoula – Pascagoula Causeway & River Park, 20 volunteers and 63 bags
• Pascagoula – The Point, 20 volunteers and 18 bags
• Pascagoula – Beach Park & Front, 110 volunteers and 172 bags
• Pascagoula – Singing River Island, 3 volunteers and 3 bags
• Pascagoula – Round Island, 8 volunteers and 25 bags
• Pascagoula – Lower Pascagoula River Islands, 5 volunteers and 17 bags


Barrier Islands: 4 sites, 53 volunteers collected 76 bags of trash
• Cat Island, 4 volunteers and 3 bags 
• Horn Island, 4 volunteers and 6 bags
• West Ship Island, 5 volunteers and 7 bags
• Petit Bois Island, 40 volunteers and 60 bags




Harrison County:  
Gulfport:  1 site; 65 volunteers collected 5 tons of trash
• Gulfport Lake; cleaned Oct. 10


Jackson County:  1 site; 102 volunteer’s collected 5.5 tons of trash
• Pascagoula River; cleaned Oct. 11


In addition, the 68 total cleanup sites had 136 volunteers who served as zone captains distributing supplies.

Mississippi Coastal Cleanup 2012 Results (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson counties and Barrier Islands)
1. Number of volunteers: 2,545
2. Weight of debris collected (lbs.): 54,680
3. Distance cleaned (mi): 199
4. Number of sites cleaned: 68
5. Number of sites collecting recyclables: 15
6. Number of trash bags filled: 2,053 (includes 164 bags of recyclables)
7. # of dump trucks filled with non‐baggable items: 5 (i.e. household appliances, shopping carts, etc.)
8. Number of tires: 184
9. Bird and animal entanglements: 1 dead brown pelican on Deer Island with a hook through its beak entangled in fishing line
10. Fun, odd and interesting items collected during the cleanup:
An unopened safe in Gautier, a chandelier with bulbs on Petit Bois Island, kid’s rocking horse, bed pan, dead deer, bowl with food in it, TV, dishwasher, full‐size house door, sealed 55‐gallon drum, tiki hut, plastic swimming pool, pillow, Swiffer sweeper, Mardi Gras beads, foam, curtain rod, silverware, a sea turtle carcass simulator from the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies on Deer Island


        Photo A: Susan Durio, left, from New Orleans and Judy Reeves from Bay St. Louis carry a kayak to the boat launch at McLeod State Park in Bay St. Louis to participate in the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Underwood)
        Photo B: Kameron Bebin, 11, right, shows Jordyn Foster, 13, the hermit crab he found while the two members of the Keesler Air Force Base Youth Center clean the shoreline near Porter Avenue in Biloxi. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
        Photo C: Fourteen members of Girl Power, a group of 7th and 8th graders with North Gulfport Middle School, cleaned the beach east of Jones Park during the Oct. 20 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
        Photo D: Stephanie Rudolph of Perkinston and her 9-year-old daughter Katie clean the beach by Jones Park in Gulfport. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
        Photo E: Members of the USS Neptune Star Trek Fan Club stopped by Jones Park in Gulfport for the volunteer lunch after picking up trash at Hiller Park in Biloxi. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
        Photo F: Jessica Streetman and her 9-year-old son Jonathan pick up trash at the Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
        Photo G: Tracy Kline and her 8-year-old son J.J. carry some roofing material they found buried in the shoreline near Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
        Photo H: A turtle carcass simulator device was found on Deer Island by volunteers. This was the most particular item found during this year’s cleanup. (Photo courtesy of Irene McIntosh)
        Photo I: The Reynolds family was part of a group of over 30 volunteers from Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems who picked up marine debris along the high tide line at the Gulf Park Estates Public Pier and Boat Launch in Ocean Springs. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia A. Moncreiff)


*Updated 2018*