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NEW REPORT. Balloons and Plastic Ribbons: Deadly Litter on Virginia's Remote Beaches

Latex balloons, foil balloons and plastic ribbons are deadly forms of litter, and they are a top source of debris found on Virginia’s remote beaches according to this new report by Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University. Litter was surveyed on Virginia’s barrier islands, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and other beaches between 2013 and 2020 revealing that balloon-related litter items are often the #1 most frequently found type of debris.

Research cited in the report was done in conjunction with behavior research and a social marketing campaign in Virginia to understand and reduce the intentional releases of balloons during memorial and celebratory events. The campaign was created by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Clean Virginia Waterways, NOAA Coastal Management, and NOAA Marine Debris Program. This campaign has inspired an expanded campaign effort in the Mid-Atlantic also referenced in the report.

January 2021. Free download.


REPORT: Littered Bottles & Cans: Higher in Virginia Than in States with Bottle Bills.

Plastic bottles, glass bottles, and aluminum cans are approximately two and half times more frequently littered in Virginia (a state without a bottle bill) than in states with bottle bills according to this new report by Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University. We compared litter data from states with bottle bills to states without bottle bills. In Virginia, bottles and cans accounted for nearly 22 percent of all litter recorded by volunteers in 2019. But in states with container deposit bills, bottles and cans accounted for less than 9 percent, on average, of the total debris recorded during the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup.

November 2020. Free download

Virginia Plastic Pollution Prevention Network
Clean Virginia Waterways was one of the founding partners in this new network. The mission of the Virginia Plastic Pollution Prevention Network (VPPPN) is to promote and facilitate coordination, collaboration, and communication among groups working to reduce plastic pollution throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Members of the VPPPN are organizations that are working on issues related to plastic pollution including non-profits, educational facilities, businesses, trade industries, researchers and governmental agencies. Learn more on how you can get involved.

This international partnership is focused on encouraging alternatives to balloon release to celebrate, remember and honor the important people and moments in our lives.  The website was launched by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (at DEQ) and Clean Virginia Waterways (of Longwood University) in 2018, and redesigned in 2020. Please visit PreventBalloonLitter.org and its Facebook page too.    

Joyful Send-Off
This program promotes litter-free weddings and other celebrations. To discourage the mass release of balloons and reduce balloon litter, we are proud partners with the Joyful Send-off campaign.  Check out fun, picture-perfect ways to celebrate at www.JoyfulSendoff.org.

"Keep It Beachy Clean": Decreasing Litter in Virginia Beach
CVW has teamed up with restaurants, hotels, cottage rental companies, the VA Aquarium, the VA Coastal Zone Management Program and other partners to decrease litter in the resort area of Virginia Beach and other coastal communities. We focused on reaching hotel guests and beach visitors with an anti-litter message. Learn more on the CVW Beachy Clean web page and the "Beachy Clean Virginia Beach" web page too!

Viginia Waterways Cleanups: Plan now for our September and October statewide cleanup events!
This annual cleanup of trash and litter in our rivers and on our beaches is part of the International Coastal Cleanup. If you would like to be a LEADER of a cleanup, please signup to be a Site Captain by contacting CVW at cleanva@longwood.edu or calling us at 434-395-2602. Learn more about this statewide hands-on stewardship event.