East Hampton beaches to get big volunteer cleanup

This file photo shows the Main Beach in This file photo shows the Main Beach in East Hampton on Oct. 30, 2012. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

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Scores of volunteers will gather in East Hampton this weekend to collect trash on beaches from one end of the town to the other, a first, according to sponsors of the cleanup effort.

The newly formed Shoreline Sweep group will begin in four spots -- Georgica Beach, Napeague Beach, Montauk Beach and Montauk Point -- and pick up plastic and paper, dog droppings and other trash. Some volunteers will also fan out to other locations. The cleanup starts Saturday at 9 a.m. If necessary, it will continue on Sunday, which will also serve as a rain date.

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After collecting the trash, volunteers will separate recyclables and keep a list of the types of litter found, which might help make future cleanups easier, said Dell Cullum, 51, a nature photographer who helped organize the effort. They will leave the bags of trash on the beaches for pickup, which is being coordinated by the town trustees, East Hampton Town and the town litter committee.

"We have a Girl Scout troop and the Amagansett Chamber of Commerce. . . . Our goal is to clean up the beach 100 percent," Cullum said. "We'll know the beach is spotless, at least for that day."

Cullum is more familiar with beach litter than most: For three years he has gotten up every morning to take pictures of the beaches. "This is our first annual cleanup," he said. "I plan to do it every year."

Cullum added that the cleanup will give town workers a fresh start. Though the town works to keep the beaches clean, crews get overwhelmed in summer when there are more people on the beach than town workers can keep up with, Cullum said.

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Cleanup updates will be posted on Cullum's website, imaginationnature.com.

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