Group beach cleanups have long been one of Surfrider MA’s most important outreach and education tools. Helping people get outside to personally remove and collect data on plastic pollution (perhaps for the first time) is a powerful way to spotlight the problem and to start conversations about solutions.

As you may be aware, these pandemic times have not allowed us to host larger group beach cleanups. And while delayed for good reasons, these events that once formed a large part of our yearly events calendar have been missed by many. Our ‘DIY together’ cleanup event in late November, Connecting our Coastline, was to continue the important task of protecting and enjoying the ocean, and for our Chapter and its supporters to keep moving forward, even while needing to be physically apart.

We’re very happy to report that this first Connecting our Coastline event was a big success! After sending out cleanup kits to registered participants in recycled sailcloth envelopes handcrafted by a team led by our Beach Cleanup Coordinator, Natalia, we ended up receiving 21 individual beach cleanup reports. These came from the Salisbury Beach on the NH State Line, through Cape Ann, the North Shore, Metro Boston, down and around the Cape + Islands, all the way to West Island in Fairhaven on Buzzard’s Bay just before RI. A few inland locations joined the party as well!

Connecting our Coastline 2020 Infographic! Summary data includes some out-of-state submissions as well as multiple cleanups at the same location on different days.

We are absolutely stoked that a week of Connecting our Coastline allowed us to reach all of these places along MA’s long coastline in a way that would have been very challenging with any traditional beach cleanup.

At least 51 total participants reported removing a total of 192.5 pounds of trash. 2447 individual items were recorded in data-cards, with cigarette butts, plastic fragments, bottle caps, food wrappers, and foam fragments as the most commonly recorded items found.

All participants who submitted valid cleanup data before the deadline were entered into a drawing for a prize pack, including some awesome up-cycled ocean plastic jewelry generously donated by our friends at Cape Clasp.


If you missed out on the fun this time, no worries! Now that we’ve got some of the details worked out and some tools built, definitely stay tuned to our events page, Instagram (@surfriderMA), or Facebook for future events like this and more. If you can’t wait, you can always follow the tips and guidelines on our DIY Beach Cleanups Page and submit your data anytime using our online form.

Or, if you’d can, please consider supporting Surfrider MA’s mission to protect and enjoy the ocean for all people by becoming a member.