HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has canceled a longstanding statewide environmental initiative for this year.
Virginia’s Clean the Bay Day tradition has taken place on the first Saturday in June every year since 1989, but for the first time ever, it will be canceled due to concerns over COVID-19. The annual litter cleanup organized by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and local partners is one of the largest volunteer events in Virginia.
In previous years, thousands of volunteers participated at hundreds of sites from Hampton Roads to the Richmond area to Northern Virginia, cleaning up more than 100,000 pounds of litter and debris from shorelines, rivers, parks and streams.
“We’re all reeling from the many changes this year has brought, but the spirit of Clean the Bay Day is alive,” said CBF Hampton Roads Grassroots Manager Tanner Council. “Many dedicated Virginians are still doing their part to clean up the environment.”
While you won't be able to participate in the annual Clean the Bay Day this year, you can still clean up litter to celebrate Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, which starts on June 7.
“Wherever there is litter, there is a chance to help,” Council said. “This Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, look for ways to safely remove litter from your neighborhood streets, parks, or nearby waterways.”
Rain washes litter from streets, parks and shorelines into nearby waterways, where they pollute the water and threaten wildlife. The foundation is already planning for next year's event, which is scheduled for June 5, 2021.
Anyone who wants to take steps towards saving the bay this month can also join CBF’s Walk the Watershed, a virtual event where teams commit to walking a total of 200 miles between now and the end of June. While walking, teams can perform restoration activities like picking up litter, as well as raise funds for bay restoration. For more information on Walk the Watershed, click here.