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Article published September 28. 2010 09:56AM
KBB volunteers work hard to make Island more beautiful::

Sundee Falkner holds up some marine debris collected during an Island-wide clear-up organised by Keep Bermuda Beautiful at the weekend.
A scout leader shows one of many bottles which, along with other debris, was pulled from the water at Evans Bay during an Island-wide marine clean-up organised by Keep Bermuda Beautiful last weekend.

By Elizabeth Roberts

Around 400 Keep Bermuda Beautiful volunteers cleared 27 shorelines from St. David's to Dockyard in the aftermath of Hurricane Igor.

The annual marine clean-up is part of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup event involving 90 countries.

The volunteers were asked to write down everything they picked up during the event on Saturday. The data collected will be shared globally, and Bermuda can see where it ranks next to other countries.

Anne Hyde, of KBB, said: "Originally scheduled for September 18, the cleanup was postponed because of Hurricane Igor. This ended up being a better situation because volunteers could help the Island recover from the storm.

"Tons of plastic debris was thrown up on Bermuda's shores. Most of this debris had been floating in the North Atlantic gyre for so long that it was no longer possible to determine what the plastic pieces came from broken pieces of crates, buckets, shoes, motor oil containers, a mess of ropes all tangled up with seaweed, driftwood, and leaves.

"Volunteers set to work to pick out the non-organic man-made debris while leaving the seaweed and natural materials which are important to protect our dunes."

She added: "We were also joined by various groups of divers who patiently scoured the ocean floor to pick up bottles. Glass degrades very slowly underwater. Basically it is non-biodegradable.

"There has been glass found underwater that is 1,000 years old. So every time someone throws a bottle overboard, that bottle can stay down there for centuries and has the potential to trap and kill sea creatures.

"Volunteer divers have found trapped hermit crabs, small fish and other sea creatures in glass bottles. KBB urges boaters and fishermen not to throw beer bottles overboard. Beer bottles last for centuries underwater."

Ms Hyde said KBB will share the data collection results later this week.