SPLASH patrols Bellmore’s waters

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A team from Operation SPLASH is helping to keep Bellmore and Merrick’s waterways clean.

At least four times a week, volunteers from Stop Polluting, Littering and Save Harbors launch from a Wantagh harbor and patrol the local creeks and harbors for trash and debris. The boat is one of seven operated by the organization to fight against waterfront pollution.

In it’s 29-year history, SPLASH has collected roughly 2.5 million pounds of trash from Long Island’s South Shore. That’s an effort of about 3,500 members, 300 to 400 of whom are active volunteers.

“At Operation SPLASH, we don’t just talk about problems, we actually get off of our couches, put down our remotes and go out and work on solving the problem,” President Rob Weltner told the Herald earlier this year.

On their June 27 excursion, the crew — comprised of Captain Jim Toporcer, Leo Smith, Sue Zieniewicz, Mike Cacioppo and Carolyn LaRosa — recovered debris from Bellmore Creek. Everything from garbage hidden in the brush to large planks of wood were picked up and taken to the boat, from which everything is safely disposed.

“We call it rescuing the trash,” Weltner added with a chuckle when he spoke to the Herald. “We say, ‘We rescued 300 bottles today.’”

For more information, including how to volunteer, visit operationsplash.org.