By JC Kreidel, NAVFAC Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Volunteers from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Atlantic turned out June 2, to tackle a really, really dirty job.
Wearing boots, beat-up jeans and a fair amount of sunscreen and bug repellant, they pulled up trash and debris from along the banks of the Elizabeth River where it meets Lafayette River Annex, all part of the command's involvement in the annual Clean the Bay Day.
The event, now in its 29th year, involves shoreline and stream clean up as one of the largest volunteer events in the Commonwealth. A press release from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, sponsor of the event, estimated 6,000 volunteers at 250 sites across Virginia, hauled out 100,000 pounds of litter and debris across 450 miles of shoreline this year.
As is unofficial tradition, NAVFAC Atlantic employees get a jump on the event, donating volunteer hours the day before the formal event. Blessed with a beautiful early summer day lacking in much humidity, volunteers noted an increase in the amount of some kinds of litter and debris such as plastic straws and discarded ice bags. A few pieces of decking were also uncovered along the shore, attributed to large storms in recent months.
The team also got a chance to check up on past year's efforts, restored oyster beds growing and thriving in the Lafayette River.
In all, these volunteers collected 440 pounds of junk from a quarter mile strip in less than 90 minutes. Last year's haul of 600 pounds, but it proves that little things do add up.
NAVFAC Atlantic Marine Resources Specialist Jaqueline Bort, who served as events coordinator, said the Clean the Bay Days has its highs and lows.
"It's always amazing, and at the same time sad, that we collect so much from such a small area," said Bort. "But it's great to get a team together to do some good, and to show how easy it is to make a positive impact on our environment."