Three groups on Aquidneck Island have kicked off a pilot program to remove debris from Newport Harbor.
Clean Ocean Access executive director Dave McLaughlin said the first of several summer cleanups takes place next week in partnership with Newport Maritime Alliance and the Newport Waterfront Commission.
“We’re going to get two divers in the water and we’re going to clean a portion of the submerged debris on the harbor floor,” said McLaughlin. “It’s going to provide a baseline of what do we see from the surface and what did we find on the floor when we got down there.”
They want to determine how much debris litters Newport Harbor and how much effort it takes to clean it up. He says the groups will classify all the marine debris.
“Whether it’s derelict fishing gear, consumable waste, or remnants from decades past such as refrigerators and bed frames and things like that, which I don’t think are a problem today, but they could be out there,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said they’ll compile this data for education and outreach programs focused on reducing the amount of debris that ends up in the harbor. McLaughlin says the program will rely mostly on volunteers. He said a healthy harbor is important not only to support the area’s tourism industry, but also marine life.
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