What Do Volunteers Find In Virginia's Waterways?

Clean Virginia Waterways' Cleanup Data Reports

"Top Ten" most frequently found items in Virginia and D.C.
The "Top Ten List" shows the items that are most frequently collected and recorded during the International Coastal Cleanup in Virginia. These items are fairly consistent in their ranking from year to year. (Note: prior to 2001, we compiled the "Dirty Dozen" instead of the "Top Ten.")

Virginia's Top Ten Lists for the last several years
Virginia's Dirty Dozen 1998 to 2000

Unusual items found on Virginia's beaches and river shorelines.

History of ICC in Virginia -- People, Pounds and Miles

The Appomattox River near Farmville is cleaner thanks to these volunteers who took part in the International Coastal Cleanup in Virginia.

The 55-gallon drum and tractor tire where put on top of the canoe, and these young women walked in the river, guiding the canoe, until they reached the take-out point.

About Cigarette Butts
Every year cigarette butts are at or near the top of our lists as the most abundant item collected. Learn more about cigarette butts as litter.

About Balloons
Did you know that it is illegal to do a mass-release of balloons in Virginia due to the harm they can cause to wild animals? Learn more about balloons as litter.

Why do volunteers collect data about litter and debris?
During the International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers do much more than just remove trash. By using standardized data cards developed by The Ocean Conservancy, volunteers accumulate valuable information about the types and sources of debris collected. Analyzed and tracked year by year, this information serves as a powerful tool for educating the public and influencing public policy. Learn more about how the data are used.

Over the years, we have learned much from the data:

• Plastic is the most prevalent type of debris collected. In Virginia, plastic accounts for about 60% of debris—five times more prevalent than the next most abundant item, metal.


• Look at the "Top Ten"and "Dirty Dozen," lists, and you will see that individual people—not governments, industries, or manufacturers—are the source of the debris problem. They are also the source of the solution.

• Most of the debris that we find on the beaches of Virginia comes from "inland" sources. So the litter and trash that starts out on the streets of our towns, enter little streams, larger rivers, and finally effects all of our aquatic ecosystems.

Please be a volunteer or Site Captain at future International Coastal Cleanup event in Virginia, and be part of the solution! Call CVW at 434-395-2602 or email us at cleanva@longwood.edu for more information. Thank you for helping make Virginia's rivers and beaches cleaner!

Go to "Litter Prevention" Page
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Compiled by Clean Virginia Waterways, Longwood University, Farmville, VA 23909
434-395-2602 Fax: 434-395-2825 Email: cleanva@longwood.edu