State announces beach cleanup for Saturday

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Marine Resources and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency are leading a coastwide beach cleanup from western Hancock County to the east side of Jackson County Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Meeting points for each county — where trash bags and gloves will be available — will be posted online later today. Volunteers will be directed to cover specific areas near each sign-in station. Safety guidelines will be posted and should be followed.

Protection of Mississippi’s beaches begins with keeping them clean. Pre-landfall beach cleanup is essential to aid in remediation should any material from the spill in the Gulf reach Mississippi’s coastal beaches. Removing trash, vegetative debris, and other waste reduces the amount of potentially contaminated material, remediation time, cost of post-impact cleanup, and human exposure to possibly harmful material.

The beach cleanup is open to everyone. Groups and families are welcome. There are no age restrictions; however, parents must accompany children and are responsible for them.

Latest news on safety training for volunteers, other clean ups

Basic safety instruction is being offered by BP in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

The 30-minute classes do not provide certification but are intended to provide safety information to volunteers who want to participate in organized pre-landfall beach cleanup.

Sessions are scheduled today and Saturday in Harrison County (at Jeff Davis campus of Gulf Coast Community College) and in Jackson County (at Jackson County campus of Gulf Coasts Community College), and in Hancock County today only (at Pearl River Community College’s Hancock County Center in Waveland).

Times are 2, 4 or 6 p.m. After the session, participants are invited to join a beach cleanup in their county from 4 to 7 p.m. The cleanups are also open to the public.

MDEQ staff and other volunteers will be on the beach handing out trash bags and gloves. There are no age limits to participate in the instruction or beach cleanup; however, parents are responsible for their children at all times.