Here’s some good news for a change, and a great example of responsible living and collective stewardship. The MCA foundation, along with dozens of local groups and communities, has cleaned up over one million pounds of trash from 34,000 miles of Alaska’s coastline. That’s enough garbage to fill four 747 jumbo jets: “It’s a lot of junk and a real accomplishment,” said the program coordinator.
Clean-up crews worked in Juneau, Kodiak, Prince William Sound, Bristol Bay, Yakutat, Port Heiden, the Shelikof Strait, the Aleutian Islands, and the Pribilofs to remove the waste, most of which had washed up on the shore after being carried by ocean currents, often for great distances. Unlike beach trash further south, which is primarily made up of packaging for consumables – cans, bags, and cigarette packs, for example – much of the garbage removed from the Alaskan coast was fishing-related, and from as far away as Asia.
The MCA has spent nearly $1 million in clean-up projects, much of which comes from federal funding. Citizens and participants hope that the effort will increase the health and beauty of the natural environment, protect resources, and help maintain both ecological and economic systems through responsible action. Water quality, marine and shore life, and the fishing industry all depend on clean beaches.