Cleanups & Marine Debris

Data collector at 2020 Connecticut Cleanup

Turtles, fish, birds, and other wildlife you love seeing throughout the Long Island Sound region can become entangled in fishing line, nets, and six-pack rings. They mistake trash like Styrofoam, plastics, and cigarette butts for food, which can poison their bodies with toxins and lead to starvation. All of these can kill wildlife, and all of it is avoidable.

Not only does marine debris threaten the Sound’s fragile ecosystem, it weakens local economies by sapping dollars from the tourism and seafood industries. Long Island Sound contributes tens of billions to the regional economy each year, but toxic seafood, polluted rivers, and trash-covered beaches threaten our economy as well as the wildlife that calls our region home.

That’s why Save the Sound works to stop litter at its source and organizes the Connecticut Cleanup each year to keep trash away from wildlife and out of the waters where you fish and swim. In the past eight years, 15,500 volunteers have removed almost 110,000 pounds of trash from Connecticut’s shoreline, protecting countless creatures and communities.

International Coastal Cleanup

East Haven Town Beach cleanup, part of the 2020 Connecticut Cleanup

Save the Sound is a Connecticut coordinator for Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer effort of its kind. Every September for more than 30 years, ICC has motivated over 11.5 million people around the world to pick up over 210 million pounds of trash from nearly 390,000 miles of shoreline.

Thanks to the hard work of volunteers just like you, we organize the Connecticut Cleanup as part of the International Coastal Cleanup each fall. Our 2021 cleanup results:

  • 76 cleanup events
  • 2,391 volunteers
  • 8,558 pounds of trash in 860 bags
  • 188 miles of waterfront and greenspace cleaned
  • Notable items found included: 38,248 pieces of food related trash, 24,424 tiny pieces of plastic, 16,229 cigarette butts, 1,113 pieces of fishing gear, 653 PPE items, 431 balloons, 66 tires, 7 pairs of sunglasses, 2 kites, and one treasure chest (disappointingly filled with sand)

Corporate Sponsorships and Cleanups

Save the Sound seeks corporate partners to support our cleanup program with financial contributions or in-kind gifts of essential supplies.

To coordinate a company cleanup for your organization or make a supportive contribution, please e-mail Annalisa at

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Thursday, Apr. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Clean Waters & Thriving Coastlines New leaders of Save the Sound, David Ansel, vice president of water protection, and Laura Wildman, vice president of ecological restoration, will guide a discussion on how we are working to create a more resilient and thriving coastline.

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