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Volunteers clean up the canals

Sonny's Canal Cleanup draws dozens

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Dozens of people turned out Sunday morning for the 3rd annual Sonny’s Canal Cleanup. 

Volunteers used their boats and personal watercrafts to remove thousands of pounds of debris and litter from the canals in an effort to clean up the local environment and shorelines. 

About 80 volunteers with seven boats removed about 2,000 pounds of trash and debris from about a mile and a half radius of the waterways, said Gareth Moore, manager of Sonny’s Canal House. It was the biggest turnout yet. 

Since the first cleanup three years ago, volunteers pulled nearly 7,000 pounds of debris from the canals. 

“It’s an event we love to do every year at Sonny’s but it’s much more of a community event than a single effort, it’s encouraging to see how many businesses and organizations come together in our town to make this happen and our hope is that other towns look at this event and how it comes together and realize that they can do something similar and make a big difference,” Moore said, thanking all of the sponsors and volunteers who came out. 

About 20 people from the Molloy College Rugby men’s and women’s teams helped out. The volunteers, including Assemblywoman Judy Griffin and County Legislator Debra Mulé, met for the cleanup effort at Sonny’s Canal House, 1 Jefferson Place, Baldwin Harbor. Supplies were provided, as well as food and drinks from Bridgeside Deli, Long Island Bagel Cafe and Barrier Brewing Co. Raffles and giveaways were offered, too, as well as live music and an after party. 

“It’s an inspiring event, where everyone from the community comes down and really pitches in to help clean up the waterways,” said Baldwin Sanitation Commissioner Johns Cools. “And it makes a big difference with 2,000 pounds taken out of the water. That’s pretty amazing.” 

The cleanup was supported and sponsored by Sonny’s Canal House, Bridgeside Deli, Barrier Brewing Co., Operation SPLASH, Sanitary District No. 2, Senator John Brooks, Mulé and Griffin. The effort also raised $400 for Operation SPLASH.

“I was so happy to be a co-sponsor and lend a hand today at the 3rd Annual Sonny’s Canal House Cleanup,” Griffin posted on her Facebook page. “This is an outstanding annual event that collects tons of garbage from our bays and helps protect our shores and marine life. Thank you for inviting me to be part of the team and help make a difference. Let’s keep our beaches and shores clean so our marine life can continue to thrive and we can all enjoy our beautiful shoreline.”