Kennebunk Portside Rotarians Rand Gesing, Harvey Flashen, Susan Gesing, Gil Page and Ki Leffler were among 11 members of the group who picked up trash at Colony Beach and on Ocean Avenue on April 22. Courtesy photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – Bottles, cans, a rug, lots of cigarette butts and bits of banged-up lobster traps were among the items found, as 11 members of Kennebunk Portside Rotary Club did its bit to clean up trash on Earth Day.

The hearty 11, out on a windy, chilly day, worked for about an hour, cleaning up trash from Colony Beach and along Ocean Avenue.

Organizers said the April 22 trash pickup took about an hour and replaced the club’s usual online Tuesday meeting.

“It was a meaningful way to see friends during the pandemic and also to honor Rotary International’s recent addition of supporting the environment to its key areas of focus for Rotary Club projects,” said member Susan Gesing, who was among the 11 who took part.

The Kennebunk Portside Rotary event was among several commemorating Earth Day.

Kennebunk Land Trust, Kennebunkport Conservation Trust and Arundel Conservation Trust teamed up to host roadside trash cleanup efforts on April 24-25.

According to Keep America Beautiful, which released its 2020 National Litter Study on Earth Day, there is good news – the amount of litter people drop and leave on the ground is down by 54 percent since the organization’s last study in 2009. However, that means there are still 50 billion pieces of litter on the ground in the U.S., according to the study.

The organization’s study looked at quantity, composition, and sources of litter along roadways, waterways, and in non-roadway areas across the United States.

Among the key findings of the study are that 90 percent of U.S. residents agree that litter is a problem in their respective states.

Keep America Beautiful estimated 207 million items of personal protective equipment (associated with COVID-19 prevention) were littering U.S. roadways and waterways through early fall 2020. Dan King photo

It found that of the 50 billion pieces of litter on the ground, 24 billion are along roadways and 26 billion are along waterways.

Keep America Beautiful estimated 207 million items of personal protective equipment (associated with COVID-19 prevention) were littered on U.S. roadways and waterways through early fall 2020.

It found there were more than 2,000 pieces of litter per mile.

Back in Kennebunkport, Gesing said the Kennebunk Portside Rotary Club’s Earth Day event yielded an estimated couple of trash bags worth of litter.

“We found more in an hour than we found last fall covering all of Goose Rocks Beach in our annual cleanup (there),” she said.

Littering is a civil violation in Maine with fines range from $100 to $500, for amounts of litter under 15 pounds for a first offense.

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