News: Splash for Trash: Servicemembers and civilians unite to clean up the coastline
Story by Lance Cpl. Shawn Valosin
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Nearly 100 servicemembers and civilians gathered in the early morning for the Splash for Trash event at Engineer Point here, April 26.
“Splash for Trash brings servicemembers closer to the environment and makes them more aware of issues we’re having with pollution around the base,” said Alicia Filzen, the Earth Day coordinator for Camp Lejeune. “We want people to be more environmentally conscious, and think before they throw.”
Volunteers were equipped with sunscreen, first aid kits and gloves so they would be protected from the elements. They were also given free Earth Day t-shirts that were designed by students from Brewster Middle School and Lejeune High School during an art contest.
“Having the competition got students involved with Earth Day, and made it easier to identify our volunteers out on the water,” said Filzen.
“We want the volunteers to have fun and be safe while they’re cleaning up the coastline and participating in base beautification,” said Master Sgt. Mark Rapoport, the facilities chief for installation facilities and environment, Marine Corps Installations East. “We get to canoe and spend time together, so it builds camaraderie, and we have a good time while accomplishing the mission of cleaning up the base; it’s good for us and the environment.”
Participants used a combination of techniques to clean the coastline, like walking, canoeing, and boating to gather everything from plastic cups to automobile tires from the waterways and foliage. The event ran from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the end result being a truck bed full of trash that volunteers gathered and bagged throughout the day. The bags were then thrown into a construction dumpster.
“I really enjoyed Splash for Trash, because it brought a lot of people together and helped out the community,” said Pfc. Jason Cruz, a welder with 8th Engineer Support Battalion. “I’ll definitely be volunteering for future events.”
Cruz also said that the Splash for Trash event was the first time he had been in a canoe, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
“This event was a great success, we had a good turnout and got a lot of trash out of the waterways,” said Rapoport. “I hope future events will have less to pick up.”