Casey’s Coastal Column | New Year’s Resolution: Debris Data Collection

Casey Cruikshank, Coastal Programs Coordinator

Casey Cruikshank, NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator, with an Ocean Conservancy data collection card and trash picked up during the NEC’s first Adopt-A-Block cleanup of 2020. Over 100 cigarettes were picked up that day.

We’ve entered the New Year and the most important time for cleanups is upon us. With more rain comes more city trash washing down our storm drains and out to the ocean. While winter cleanups can be a soggy endeavor, they’re very important not only for debris removal but also for data collection. The NEC is entering the New Year with a resolution to increase debris data collection to help guide solution-based projects. Our Coastal Programs have been revamped to include data reporting to the Ocean Conservancy and we are excited to be researching and cataloging when and where we’re finding specific types of debris year-round.

We’re also working to lead by example in 2020 by adopting the block around our headquarters. In just two 15 minute cleanups so far, we’ve found 223 cigarette butts, 31 food wrappers, a random assortment of beverage bottles and other plastic debris. Due to the high volume of cigarette butts, we contacted our property manager to see if we could get cigarette butt receptacles installed. Already, our data collection has been put to use! Just 15 minutes a day can have a big impact. If you are interested in joining our newly revamped Coastal Programs, please contact or visit our website at