Surfrider to host 6th annual canal cleanup


The Surfrider Foundation Central Long Island Chapter is preparing for its 6th annual Earth Day canal cleanup on April 21.

Co-organized by the Northeast Bay and Canal Civic Association, the event will take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Volunteers will meet at the corner of Heron and East Chester streets and work to remove debris and litter from the canals.

Vice chair of the local Surfrider chapter, Marvin Weiss, said volunteers would be cleaning up the waterways during high tide — rather than low tide like previous years — to avoid any potential injuries. He said no one would be climbing through “the muck” this year.  

“People spread out into the streets and go out on kayaks or stand-up paddleboards, and then they travel up and down the canals,” Weiss said, adding that volunteers try to get to all four canals, including the one on Blackheath Road.

Volunteers in wetsuits will collect debris floating on the water and place it into buckets on their paddleboards. Some pieces are lifted out of the water with the help of people standing on the docks.

Larger pieces of debris, like pieces of broken dock, are tied to a boat and brought to the Recreation Center where Scott Bochner, a local environmentalist who sits on the city’s Environmental Advisory Board, hauls it up.

Weiss said volunteers have collected shopping carts, bicycles, bowling balls and other “unique” items in the waterways over the years.

The litter would then be transported to a dump spot, and the city’s Department of Public Works crews will help pick up the garbage in trucks.  

Pastor Tom Cura of CenterPoint Church, at 455 Neptune Blvd. inside Temple Emanu-El of Long Beach, will be joining the effort with a group of congregants.

In previous years, volunteers have also cleaned up the streets around the canals neighborhood. Some teams moved through backyards to clear debris that remained since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“It’s important that we care, and by cleaning up, it shows that we care,” Weiss said.