(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Erie County is participating in an international litter cleanup effort and it needs volunteers.

The county will host the 37th annual International Coastal Cleanup day from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 17. Volunteers can sign up online to help collect litter from one of 20 cleanup locations in Erie County.

As Erie County volunteers log in trash they collect, they will contribute to a database that tracks marine debris. The Ocean Conservancy Ocean Trash Index is used to inform policy and find solutions to the marine debris crisis.

“It is amazing to see people’s sense of environmental stewardship grow when they see the extent of litter along our waterways firsthand,” said Lynn Armel, director of Keep Erie County Beautiful. “I think that is one reason we have so many volunteers return year after year.”

According to an Erie County news release, millions of tons of trash flow into waterways, lakes and oceans every year. Over the last 35 years, the International Coastal Cleanup has seen volunteers removing some 344 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide. Last year, in Erie County alone some 2,600 pounds of litter was collected by more than 600 volunteers.

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Worldwide, the most common items collected during the 2020 coastal cleanup were beverage bottles, bottle caps, plastic cutlery, grocery bags, and food wrappers.