Plastic Trash Targeted

Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2018 | Posted in iWR-10-18

Long Island Sound Study Campaign

Three stickers reading "Protect Our Wildlife: Break the Single-Use Habit," each with a different illustration. The first features a piping plover; the second, a reusable bag, reusable water bottle, and two birds; and the third, a windowpane flounder.

Stickers from the 2018 “Don’t Trash the Sound” campaign.

“Protect our wildlife: break the single-use plastic habit.”

That was the rallying cry for a plastic trash reduction campaign that engaged thousands of people in New York and Connecticut this summer. NEIWPCC staff members and others at the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) delivered the message, primarily through social media.

Between August 2 and September 14, LISS posted photos, videos, articles, and graphics on its Facebook and Twitter pages. LISS also distributed eye-catching decals bearing the campaign message and helped orchestrate two beach cleanups on the Long Island Sound.

Through likes, shares, and retweets, the message to end plastic pollution reached the feeds of tens of thousands of readers. Additionally, LISS distributed more than 7,000 stickers to its partner citizen groups, teachers, and other New York and Connecticut residents who asked for them over social media.

A group of people smiling and waving near the shoreline with reusable water bottles that bear stickers reading "Protect Our Wildlife: Break the Single-Use Plastic Habit." Includes a campaign sticker featuring a turtle.

The Long Island Sound Study encouraged community members to share photos with the campaign stickers on their water bottles and use the hashtag #DontTrashLISound.

The campaign also gained traditional media attention. NBC Connecticut broadcast live the beach cleanup that kicked off the campaign. The segment featured video of young campers from Mystic Aquarium’s summer program picking up trash. NBC Connecticut also reported that 73% of all beach litter is plastic and encouraged viewers to join the movement on social media.

Each year, LISS’s Public Involvement and Education Work Group chooses an outreach campaign that will engage the public in the work LISS does to protect the Sound. “Last year [we ran] a general campaign raising awareness on the marine debris issue. In 2018, we focused on plastic debris,” said NEIWPCC’s Robert Burg, the communications coordinator at LISS. “We [also] wanted to combine a nice promotional project with a real action: put our stickers on your reusable bottles.”

An infographic designed for Long Island Sound Study's campaign that lists the top 10 litter items collected on Long Island Sound Coastal Clean Up Days in 2017. The top ten items were cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic caps, plastic bottles, straws/stirrers, metal bottle caps, beverage cans, glass bottles, other plastic bags, and plastic grocery bags.

The infographic above reached 16,768 Facebook users.

Plastic trash can remain in the environment for hundreds, even thousands, of years and is dangerous for marine ecosystems. “Plastic can clog the digestive systems of sea animals, cause them to choke, or make them too buoyant so they can no longer dive for food,” reads one of the campaign graphics, which reached more than 5,000 social media users.


“This year the issue of plastic debris really resonated with the public and with environmental groups,” said Burg. The decision to focus on plastic helped LISS build on the momentum from last year’s campaign. Social media reach increased by more than 33%.

The Long Island Sound Study is a collaboration between state, federal, and citizen organizations in Connecticut and New York. It protects the Long Island Sound estuary by focusing on nitrogen management, habitat restoration, water quality monitoring, and outreach and education.

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