Community Events Committee to help mitigate trash at Onset Beach

Aug 18, 2020

The Community Events Committee has decided against installing dumpsters at Onset Pier to corral garbage left by beachgoers, but is looking into other ways to minimize the mess. 

The proposal was discussed at the committee’s Monday night meeting, but was ultimately rejected due in part to the Onset Bay Association’s opposition to the idea.

Selectman Alan Slavin, the liaison to the committee, explained that the town has had dumpsters in public places in the past, including one near the Tempest Knob Boat Ramp. Rather than using it for its intended purpose, people would often use the dumpster to dispose of household trash. Some community members are worried that a dumpster on the pier would meet the same fate, and could even exacerbate the trash problem.

Onset Beach, like the rest of the recreation areas in town, is a carry-in, carry-out facility. That means that people are expected to bring their trash home with them. 

There are several trash compacting barrels in the area just in case, but earlier this summer, those containers were frequently overflowing and surrounded by other garbage.

The Onset Bay Association, which has halted its weekly concerts and a number of festivals  this summer due to the pandemic, has turned its attention to the litter problem.
In June, the association met to discuss the issue with  a group of local leaders, including members of the Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator Derek Sullivan, the police department, business owners, concerned citizens, and Don’t Trash Wareham.

Since then, volunteers have been educating beachgoers about the town policy and handing out plastic bags for those who need them. The town has been emptying the barrels several times a day. 

There has been a marked improvement in the condition of the beaches, but many are working to keep the beaches even cleaner.

The Community Events Committee and Onset Bay Association will continue to work with the town to tackle the problem of messy beachgoers.