Prepared with heavy coats, warm hearts and a desire to help, volunteers gathered to clean up Plumb Beach Sunday morning.
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), Assemblywoman Jaime Williams and a dozen volunteers assembled to clean up the beach to celebrate World Wetlands Day.
Celebrated since 1997 and officially recognized by the United Nations in 2021, World Wetlands Day serves to increase public awareness of wetlands as vital ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and freshwater availability, among other essential factors. Throughout the years, the holiday has held many themes, with this year focusing on “wetlands action for people and nature.”
“It’s important for us to raise awareness about wetlands because it’s the sanctuary for smaller aquatic creatures. Also, when a storm is coming in, our wetlands absorb that impact before it comes farther inland,” said Assemblywoman Williams. “We’re not just focusing on the wetland and the marsh area, but also on the shoreline to pick up trash that is washed up and is not eco-friendly with our waterways and our aquatic animals.”
With the necessary tools – including gloves, grabbers, trash bags, hand warmers and hot coffee/chocolate – the volunteers filled up over 28 trash bags, estimating that over 1,260 pounds of garbage were collected.
“Plumb Beach marsh is an important place for wildlife; it helps clean the bay and it acts as a sponge, removing pollutants from the water, and also protects the shoreline community from extreme weather,” said JBRPC Executive Director Alex Zablocki. “That’s why it’s important to remove trash and debris from the beach and make sure that the marsh remains healthy.”