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Hampton Waterways Restoration Project Art Auction Fundraiser and Exhibit

Posted on November 16, 2015 by | Comments Off

Courtesy of West Mercury Center for the Arts

Courtesy of West Mercury Center for the Arts
A small portion of the local beach trash picked up by Mara Yoko. If you think the beaches are doing fine…look again.

Hampton Waterways Restoration Project (HWRP), a volunteer committee from the city of Hampton’s Clean City Commission, is hosting its first Art Auction Fundraiser and Exhibit at the West Mercury Center for the Arts located on 2525 West Mercury Blvd, Hampton, VA, 23666.

The Art Auction and exhibit will showcase art made from and inspired by trash found in waterways in the City of Hampton. The exhibit’s opening reception was on November 7 at 6 pm and the turn out was great. 80 plus citizens and artists joined in celebrating our waterways and supporting the art that showcases the beauty and pollution found in the waterways. The exhibit will run through November 21 where a closing reception will be held from  3 pm-7 pm featuring refreshments and music. This exhibit aims to raise awareness about the beauty and importance of improving waterways in Hampton. For the closing reception there is a suggested donation of $5.00 upon entrance. Auction proceeds will serve as seed funds for future projects that support making Hampton’s waterways more swimmable and fishable. 

Waterways from the City of Hampton are connected to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, an integral part of the human health and wealth of 17 million people. According to the largest independent conservation organization, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,”…many have questioned whether or not the efforts to clean polluted waterways are all for naught…if, in the end, the work for clean water will be more expensive than what the resource we save is actually worth. However, after decades of lost jobs, poor health, and dirty water as a result of the Bay’s degradation, it’s become quite clear: It is more expensive—both for the economy and the human condition—not to save and restore our extraordinary waters.”

Courtesy of West Mercury Center for the Arts

Courtesy of West Mercury Center for the Arts
Artist Larry VanOver with trash collected from Buckroe, Grand view and Ft Monroe beaches in less than 6 months.

For three years and counting, HWRP has worked in the City of Hampton on various solo and collaborative projects with the goal of improving Hampton’s waterways through education, advocacy, public awareness, tree restoration, water quality monitoring, litter cleanups and more. “We are always looking for different ways to connect with people about the importance of fostering healthy waterways in Hampton.  This year we are debuting the Art Auction to show citizens both the beauty of our waterways, and also how our waterways struggle with pollution.” says HWRP Chair, Claire Neubert.

For questions or more information about the HWRP Art Auction Fundraiser, please contact Mara Yoko, Art Auction Chair, at or 757-288-1180.

 To learn more about HWRP and how you can get involved, please contact HWRP Chair, Claire Neubert at or Hampton Clean City Commission staff member, Cris Ausink at or 757-727-1158.

Hampton Waterways Restoration Project (HWRP) is a volunteer committee started in 2013 through the Hampton Clean City Commission with the mission to restore and maintain clean waterways in Hampton that are swimmable and fishable. Through community cleanup initiatives, advocacy and educational outreach, the committee works to change citizen’s attitudes and behaviors to contribute cleaner and healthier waterways in Hampton.

 Blog post contributed by Debbie Blanton, Clean City Coordinator for the City of Hampton.

Posted in: Beautification, Keeping storm drains free, Waterways

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What Happens to Litter on a Rainy Day

Posted on February 8, 2012 by | Comments (1)

Litter in stormwater

Someone litters somewhere. Maybe it was an accident, but probably it was on purpose. According to research by Keep America Beautiful81 percent of littering behavior is intentional. Before you know it, pieces of that litter, particularly the plastic litter, are swirling around in the Atlantic Ocean!?! Don’t believe me? Stay with me for a minute.

Once litter is in the water or storm drain, it may cling to the shoreline, get caught in the plants in the waterway, or get hung up on other litter for a while. Eventually, though, it washes downstream into a river or even straight into the Chesapeake Bay. In our area, all drains and waterways lead to the Bay.The trash lies where it is littered until wind or water moves it, often into a ditch or a storm drain. Sometimes plastic bags are blown into a tree or a shrub. From the tree or shrub the plastic bag can end up very quickly in the water. Eventually, however, all paths in Hampton Roads lead to water.

Once in the Bay, the litter either washes up on the beaches, sinks to the bottom, or sweeps out into the ocean on the tides and currents. According to the EPA’s National Marine Debris Monitoring Program 49 percent of debris on beaches is definitely from land-based sources and another 33 percent could come from either land- or ocean-based activities. Land-based activities include individuals who litter (remember those intentional littering behaviors?) or commercial activities that result in litter (construction, garbage removal, etc). Some of it comes from storm debris, too.

Out in the Atlantic Ocean, the plastic litter (mostly), moved by wind, wave, and current, finds its way into gyres, areas where currents converge in an inward swirling motion. The debris, mostly polyethelene (think plastic jugs and bags), polypropylene (soda bottle lids, for example), and polystyrene (cups, cheap coolers, etc.) plastic, forms a soupy mix of plastic pieces that “are generally small – no bigger than your smallest fingernail – with a mass less than that of a paper clip”, according to Sea Education Association, an organization that has been studying this garbage patch for more than 20 years. The small pieces of plastic float at or near the surface of the water, but are hard to see because they are so small. SEA actually uses nets to capture and study some of this mess.

There is a direct link between the hand that throws the litter and the debris in the ocean. Why should we care? This is the gist what SEA says: plastic debris threatens marine animals through entanglement and ingestion. The plastic bits provide nice homes for invasive species to ride to other parts of the ocean. AND plastic carries toxins like PCBs and others and then can be eaten by fish that we eat. Think about sea turtles caught in plastic and with bellies full of plastic bags, and some our favorite fish eating the little bits and passing their toxins along to us. These are just a couple of examples, there are many other animals affected as well.

What can YOU do about it?

• NEVER litter.

• Insist that family and friends never litter – share information about the harm litter does with them.

• Tie up your garbage bags so litter cannot get out when the wind blows.

• If you notice litter around a business or agency, complain about it to the management.

• Volunteer to help pick up litter through various cleanup programs throughout the region.  Or just pick it up when you see it!  There’s no time like the present to make a difference.

• Write blogs or letters to the editor highlighting how good it is to keep things clean and how awful it is to litter. In other words, speak up!

Posted in: Don't litter!, Keeping storm drains free, Research, Waterways

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