More than 140 volunteers, led by Kiara Ann Frischkorn (Marine Science, ’22), recently spread out across Old Orchard Beach to collect trash.
“The importance of these cleanups, besides getting trash off the beach, is to show people how large our trash problem really is,” Frishkorn stated.
The most common items found were cigarette butts, pieces of plastic, food wrappers, bottle caps and plastic straws.
“The trash in the ocean and on our beaches is not only an environmental concern but a public health concern as well,” Frishkorn explained. “Needles and knives we found on the beach were covered in sand and could have been easily stepped on. The trash in the ocean is often mistakenly eaten by animals, and when we eat fish, the trash they eat goes into our bodies.”
Volunteers from local high schools, the University of Southern Maine, a boy scout troop from Saco and insurance company MAPFRE, joined dozens of UNE students in the cleanup. The group effort resulted in 500 pounds of trash being removed from the beach and shoreline.
“It’s always so satisfying to see how much trash you get off the beach,” Frishkorn said. “Advocating for a cleaner future is my passion in life, and I want to do whatever I can to make this world a greener place.”