For more than two decades, Jacksonville has contributed to the Florida Coastal Cleanup by hosting cleanup events at the beaches and along the city’s waterways.
This year, residents made local history by boosting volunteer participation to an all-time high with 1,075 volunteers; last year, 505 volunteers participated. Additionally, volunteer hours more than doubled from 1,006 in 2018 to 2,135.5 in 2019. Assigning a monetary value to those hours showed an increase from $25,583 to $56,289. The value of the volunteer hours combined with a cost avoidance of $10,685 resulted in a total savings of $66,974 for taxpayers on litter abatement efforts.
“We cannot thank the volunteers enough for their contributions,” said Dan Durbec, City of Jacksonville environmental programs specialist and the event’s organizer. “Without their support, the City would be spending more money to keep Jacksonville clean and beautiful. By working together, everyone wins.”
During the event, participants collected 8,830 pounds (4.415 tons) of trash; some of the most interesting items found include a mattress and box spring, a sink, a shopping cart, countertops, cabinets, tools and 20,260 cigarette butts.
The Florida Coastal Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers around the world participate in the event, keeping track of every item found to be included in the Ocean Conservancy’s yearly snapshot of marine debris.