The non-profit Clean Ocean Access is celebrating its 11th year of ocean cleanup along the Aquidneck shoreline with a new 10-year report outlining its environmental impact.
Clean Ocean Access started off as a community effort between friends and family to remove debris from the coast in 2006. The report says that over the last 10 years, the organization has removed over 94,000 pounds of marine debris ranging from lobster pots to the occasional mattress.
Clean Ocean Access has hosted over 450 cleanups and boasts over 7,000 volunteers.
Following a belief that data influences policy, the organization individually tallies debris collected in some of their cleanup programs.
In 2013 Clean Ocean Access collected over 10,000 cigarette butts and a year later the group advocated for a smoking ban on beaches and other recreational areas. That ban was approved in local ordinances in 2015.
Organization officials say they hope the work they do preserves clean shorelines for future generations. They are currently advocating for a single-use plastic bag ban on the island.