Some residents say they are tired of seeing local beaches littered with waste from both dogs and humans—and this weekend, dozens of people are going to do something about it.
On Saturday, an army of volunteers will take to the sand and dunes in the first-ever “Shoreline Sweep” in the Town of East Hampton. Volunteers are still being sought to join in picking up trash and debris along beaches from Montauk Point to Wainscott. The concerned citizens will then help to sort out recyclables.
The event was the brainchild of East Hampton resident Dell Cullum, who runs Hampton Wildlife Removal and Rescue and operates the website ImaginationNature.com. It is being coordinated with the East Hampton Town Trustees and the East Hampton Litter Committee.
“I’ve been talking about this since last summer’s horrible display of trashing our beaches,” Mr. Cullum said on Monday, adding that more than 40 people have already signed up for Saturday’s program.
Volunteers will be divided into groups to sweep stretches of ocean beach in East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. Group leaders will distribute supplies, and the cleaning will begin promptly at 9 a.m.
If necessary, the cleanup will continue on Sunday, but organizers say that is unlikely. “We’re pretty certain we can knock this out in one day, particularly if we get the volunteers we expect,” Mr. Cullum said. “The beaches aren’t too bad right now, but it’s the perfect opportunity to do this—hardly anyone on the beach, and trash is easily seen.”
“I always expect a good response,” said Deborah Klughers, who chairs the East Hampton Litter Committee. She credited Mr. Cullum for the plan.
His idea for the shoreline sweep, Mr. Cullum said, came to fruition when he contacted Ms. Klughers. He said that she liked the idea and quickly joined in. Not long after that East Hampton Town did the same. The town will provide garbage bags and trucks for the cleanup, according to Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.
“The town welcomes this with open arms,” Mr. Cantwell said. “The compliments on this go to Dell Cullum and the people who have volunteered to do this. This is a passion of Dell’s, and he’s right—all of us need to do a better job of keeping the beaches clean.”
Mr. Cullum, a wildlife photographer and naturalist, said that last summer he started a website called “Ugly Hamptons,” where he posted photos that he took of people throwing dog waste pickup bags into the dunes.
“One day, I walked up into the dunes and removed 37 bags of poop in a 50-square-foot area,” he said. “I see the same people every morning not picking up after their dogs. I’ve photographed the sunrise every morning for the past four years, and I was tired of seeing an escalation of trash building up on our beaches. That’s when I decided to stop talking about it and get out there and do something about it.”
Participants will be keeping a record of the amount and types of trash collected in each location. The event will also be documented and made into a short film, Mr. Cullum said.
The organizers of the event expect to have a meeting place where volunteers can gather for refreshments after the sweep. Anyone who would like to volunteer for the shoreline cleanup should contact Mr. Cullum by email at email@example.com, or Ms. Klughers at firstname.lastname@example.org.