Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department
Environmental Public Health
International Coastal Cleanup
Do you value clean lakes and streams?
Every September and October hundreds of volunteers in Lincoln and Lancaster County donate their time to keep local waterways clean, healthy and safe. As part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) program, KLLCB organizes volunteers to remove litter and debris from local streams, rivers and lakes.
These cleanups are essential if you enjoy fishing at Wildwood, boating at Branched Oak or camping at Wagon Train. When visiting these sites you can’t help but notice bottles, cans and old fishing gear littering shorelines and park areas. Volunteers for the ICC program are asked to complete data cards that record the amount of litter collected. Last year over 15,000 pieces of litter were removed from area lakes and streams, including 1,900 beverage cans, 1,700 cigarette butts and 1,200 food wrappers.
The cleanliness of our waterways in Lancaster County can impact rivers and oceans downstream. While it’s true the nearest ocean is almost one thousand miles away, 80% of trash found in oceans starts out on land. For example, an empty soda bottle left on the ground can enter storm drains in Lincoln, travel to area streams and rivers and potentially reach the ocean. Even though oceans are not part of our daily lives, trash-filled seas affect the quality of life for people in Nebraska in several ways:
Litter and debris is also harmful to aquatic life. It destroys habitat, harms or kills animals through entanglement or ingestion and transports invasive species.
ICC started in Texas in 1989 and has grown into an annual event that mobilizes millions of volunteers around the world to clean beaches, lakes, riversides and other waterways. Last year 650,000 volunteers cleaned up 12 million pounds of trash from 13,000 miles of waterways across the world. The cleanup effort included 2 million cigarettes, 1.5 million food wrappers, 1 million plastic bottles and 500,000 plastic bags. For complete details on 2013 cleanup activities read the Ocean Conservancy’s 2014 report. Data collected from local cleanups are included in this report.
Groups with boats, canoes and kayaks are needed to reach inaccessible areas. Cleanup equipment and detailed instructions are provided by KLLCB. For more information call 402-441-8035 or e-mail:
City of Lincoln