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Clean the Bay Day volunteers hold moment of silence for VB Municipal Center victims

Over 45,000 pounds of trash were collected from Virginia waterways by about 3,500 volunteers.
Credit: Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Oronoco Bay Park, Alexandria, VA. Photo by Rebecca Long, CBF

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — One of the largest volunteer events in Virginia had thousands across the state come out to help Clean the Bay on Saturday.

However, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 31st Clean the Bay Day started with a moment of silence at many cleanup sites for the 12 victims of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting.

RELATED: Witnesses recall moments of deadly shooting at Virginia Beach Municipal Center

“This tragedy is heartbreaking,” said CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett. “Virginia Beach is the birthplace of Clean the Bay Day. Through the years the city has been one of our most important partners in restoring our waterways. Our colleagues and friends in that building worked tirelessly for clean water. We dedicate this Clean the Bay Day to the victims of the Virginia Beach shooting.”

RELATED: Vigils begin following Virginia Beach municipal center shooting

Even with a rainy start to the day for some, about 3,500 people helped clean shorelines and streams at nearly 200 sites across the Commonwealth. About 45,000 pounds to trash were removed from waterways.

As usual, the most common items found during the cleanup were plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts. However, volunteers recovered many larger harmful items, such as appliances, car and boat parts, dozens of tires, large blocks of Styrofoam, a 16-foot cattle panel and more.

Participants even collected some strange items from rivers and streams, including vintage milk bottles, a fruit basket, half of a laptop, a keyboard, a 57-pound tire, a car grill, a stadium seat, a cowbell, a gold watch and a small amount of cash.

Cleanups were held at scores of sites across Virginia, including Hampton Roads, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Richmond, Charlottesville, Shenandoah Valley, and Northern Virginia. All of Virginia’s state parks within the Chesapeake Bay watershed had cleanup sites. Many partner groups also joined CBF.

Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged over 161,700 volunteers, who have removed approximately 7.1 million pounds of debris from over 8,000 miles of shoreline in Virginia.