June 27, 2008

Huntington Gets Ready for Beach Cleanup

By Arielle Brechisci, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

Jun. 27--For the third year, volunteers will participate a week from Monday in a national campaign by cleaning up garbage and debris from the Town of Huntington's public beaches.

On July 7th, during Clean Beaches Week, volunteers from all over Huntington, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, will clean up the beaches and raise awareness about the importance improving the environment.

It's all about "rakes, plastic bags, and picks," said Village of Northport Trustee Tom Kehoe. "Nothing fancy, just plenty of gloves."

Kehoe said he envisions "having quite a few volunteers" this year, although he's unsure exactly how many.

The event starts at around 10 a.m. and ends about two hours later in a celebration in Centerport.

"We always do it after July 4th because that's when the beaches become the dirtiest," said Huntington Councilman Stuart Besen. Besen said last year's volunteers picked up between 25 and 30 tons of garbage off the beaches.

Clean Beaches Council started this nationwide event five years ago. Last year, the president of the not-for-profit organization, Walter McLeod, traveled to Huntington from Washington D.C. to participate.

Other volunteers include various environmental groups, boating and yacht clubs, and citizens willing to help clean up their town beaches.

"People don't realize that Huntington has 90 miles of coastline," said Besen. "The Town of Huntington, like most of Long Island, is really economically and socially dependent on it's beaches." The main focus is to get as much garbage, debris and other unnatural objects off the beach as possible. The second goal is to raise awareness and teach the younger volunteers the importance of keeping the beaches clean.

"As Long Island developed, no one cared about sewers or drinking water," said Kehoe, who was recently appointed by County Executive Steve Levy to the Suffolk County Waste Water Treatment Task Force. "We've got to start taking care of \[the beaches\], because you can't go to Wal-Mart and buy a new one."

The cleanup will take place at Centerport Beach, Crab Meadow Beach, Scudder Beach, Asharoken/Steers Beach, West Neck and Hobart Beach.

Anyone interested in volunteering can call 631-351-3171.


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