Environmental group Relic Sustainability wants to establish beach clean-up stations at Southold beaches.
Representatives pitched the idea for approval to the Southold Town Board at a work session on Tuesday. The group’s initiative aims to foster community-driven beach cleaning, with more than 30 active stations across Long Island, according to CEO Aiden Kravitz at the work session. Each station, made of wood, offers recycled plastic baskets. Beach-goers may borrow baskets to collect trash from the beach and offload into a nearby trash can, returning the baskets when they’re done. Signs at the stations include a QR code linking to Relic’s website, where users can report pollution information.
“Plastics and other debris constantly wash up on our shorelines and I think it’s important to be a part of the change and to not leave the beach empty handed when you attend it, and to give back,” said Travis Zurawski, a Peconic resident and manager at Little Creek Oysters in Greenport. “Relic Sustainability gives us that ability to give back. It allows for anyone going to the beach, whether you’re a resident or visitor, to make a change. Those small changes lead to a big impact on cleaning up our beaches and enhancing it for the community.”
Mr. Kravitz said the nonprofit is working with eight different municipalities, at no cost to the towns. Relic maintains the clean-up stations as needed, in addition to quarterly maintenance. All Southold would need to do is “maintain the normal trash maintenance as it currently exists,” Mr. Kravitz said. “We really want to just integrate into what currently exists.”
He said the program will work around whatever is best for the town. On site considerations would include close proximity to trash cans and no blocking line of site to the waterfront or scenery. The parks department or Relic would install the stations.
The Town Board gave the group the go-ahead to roll out the first phase of beaches, with stations at Norman Klipp Park; Town Beach; McCabe’s Beach; Kenney’s Beach; New Suffolk Beach; and Goose Creek Beach. Relic Sustainability will return to the board this summer to discuss how the program is going; if all goes well, a second phase could add stations at Bailie Beach; Duck Pond Road; Pequash; Indian Neck Lane; South Harbor; 67 Steps; and Rocky Point Road.
Some Town Board members suggested the idea may inspire the public to begin at least taking their trash off the beach with them.
“I’m partial to this because my son did his thesis in microplastics,” said Town Board member Jill Doherty. “He has taught me a lot.”