Volunteers will take on trash in Maryland's waterways

You don't have to look far to find great wildlife at Rocky Point County Park, and you can't beat the fishing.

The park looks beautiful until you look a little closer.  You can see the underbrush is littered with....litter.  Bags, bottles and wrappers are everywhere.

Geri Schlenoff says, "Every place is a watershed, so you could be in downtown Baltimore or western Maryland, and if you drop trash or it accidentally falls on the ground, it eventually is going to find a stream or find a river and it eventually will wind up in our bay."

That's why Schlenoff organizes the Maryland sites for Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup.

  She's been volunteering at clean up sites for almost twenty years. 

Here in Maryland, just like the rest of the world, she says the top pollutants are cigarette butts.  Of which, volunteers gathered nearly 5,000 pounds last year.

She says, "They just don't think they think of the consequences of it.  It's like at the beach, where people throw their cigarettes in the sand, and I wish I could just say to them, 'Excuse me but, we found birds that have cigarette butts in their intestines and in their stomachs because they die from ingesting this stuff because they think it's food.'"

After cigarettes, the most common trash is caps and lids.  Plastic bottles is third.

If you'd like to volunteer at any of the locations, you can signuptocleanup.org or show up at any one of the volunteer locations.  You can find them here too.

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