Nicholls Volunteers Collect More Than 3,000 Pounds of Trash


THIBODAUX, La. — More than 3,000 pounds of trash was removed from Elmer’s Island by Nicholls faculty, staff and students on Sept. 21. 

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s 33rd International Coastal Cleanup, a total 193 volunteers from Nicholls and other local organizations removed 3,800 pounds of debris from 2.3 miles of beach. 

“It’s important to clean up the beach, get volunteers out to the beach and work with our partners,” said Dr. Allyse Ferrara, professor of biological sciences.

Partners included the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, the Grand Isle Music Festival, Shell and Off the Hook restaurants.

The top three items found on the beach were: 1,927 tiny plastic pieces, 1,405 bottle caps and 1,368 plastic beverage bottles. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation said by 2050 more plastic will be in the ocean than fish by weight.

“My biggest message would be for everyone to try to reduce the number of single-use plastics and plastics in general that are disposed of,” said Dr. Ferrara.

In an effort to not add to the amount of trash and plastic, volunteers used reusable water cups from Rotolo’s Pizzeria, instead of plastic water bottles. 

“We tried to reduce the impact and amount of waste generated by the Cleanup efforts. We used as few plastic garbage as possible and used buckets to pick up the debris,” said Dr. Ferrara. “We made sure food was served on recyclable trays or biodegradable materials such bagasse plates and bamboo forks.”

Data collected from the cleanup will be sent to Ocean Conservancy and included in their annual report, which will be released in March 2020.


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