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Jun 29, 2010 6:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

A one-woman plan to save sea life from fishing line

Jun 29, 2010 6:35 PM

Debbie Klughers is a woman on a mission to protect the earth. Whether she’s petitioning the East Hampton Town Board to keep water balloons out of the water during Montauk’s Blessing of the Fleet, encouraging the town to do more recycling or hosting her “Keeping It Green” television show on LTV, her passion for the environment extends to nearly everything she does.

Back in April, Ms. Klughers showed up at a Town Board meeting with a large contraption made of white PVC plumbing pipe. It looked like a cartoon periscope. Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a sport fisherman, knew what it was, but many people were stumped.

The device was a receptacle for used fishing line, which not only litters the East End’s beaches, but can strangle and mutilate shore birds and sea animals, and can tangle and jam boat propellers as well.

“BoatUS has 1,200 of these across the country. I’ve seen them for years in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida,” said Ms. Klughers this week.

Ms. Klughers made an offer to the board: if it would agree to ship the fishing line back to Berkley, a fishing line company that runs a large recycling program, she would make as many receptacles as the town needed to keep at road ends and would hang them at fishing areas.

It was an offer the board couldn’t refuse. It jumped on the plan and the Town Parks Department agreed to hang the containers. Councilwoman 
Julia Prince gave Ms. Klughers a list of 26 sites to put the receptacles.

Ms. Klughers has spent the past two months raising $1,500 with the help of a matching grant from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation and has ordered enough PVC for 30 receptacles, and plans in the upcoming weeks to invite members of the community to help assemble them on her television show.

Ms. Klughers, who grew up on the South Fork and was this year’s valedictorian at Stony Brook University, where she majored in Environmental Studies, has had a show on LTV since October.

“I’ve always cared about environment and been a part of it, maybe I’ve always been an environmentalist,” she said. “The recycling rage has gone down since the ’70s, but maybe things like this will make people think about recycling in general.”

“The bigger picture is not only the fishing line, but to make people think,” she added. “There’s a lot of things this town needs to do to enhance their municipal solid waste program. Slowly, I’m going to bring it to them.”

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Thank you Debbie!
By RealLocal (76), Bridgehampton on Jun 30, 10 3:25 PM
Congratulations to her for actually doing something. In the past number of years the environmental movement in town has gone from being pro active to nothing more then a group of whining complainers demanding that somebody else (gopvernment) does the right thing. I hope these things aren't treated as all public garbage cans are, recepticals for house hold trash. But good idea. Keep at it. Fact
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jun 30, 10 4:03 PM
Awesome, baby, simply awesome. Many, many thanks as there will be a little less trash to pick up, and maybe that black bag in the back of my car will fill up that much slower after a walk.

And, facts man, you are most likely correct in your assertation. Donations for signs dissuading these units from being a trash receptacle will most likely be required as well. By the way, if the government actually did the "right thing" in the first place, no one would have to complain. Personal responsibility ...more
By Mr. Z (11692), North Sea on Jun 30, 10 5:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's my friend!!!!!! Love ya Deb xoxo
By amysalle (1), Westhampton on Jun 30, 10 9:20 PM
So why does BoatUS get mentioned by her but not MBAA/MSA for putting them up at M long before she even thought of them?
By omghi (20), EH on Jul 1, 10 7:45 AM
So if I read this correctly, she is doing the work and you are bitching about it ?
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Jul 2, 10 9:25 AM
By asurest (117), easthampton on Jul 4, 10 4:42 PM
and she just graduated from the environmental sustainabilities college at Southampton. it will be a travesty if that one-of-a-kind college is allowed to be exterminated and that kind of education is lost to students like this.
By js (44), NY on Jul 4, 10 10:57 PM

Do you know for a fact she was at SBS and not SBU (where you can major in environmental studies)?

Further more, the failing/closing of SBS has no bearing on the Environmental Studies program, which she was a student of as it was started before SBS came into existance. So "that kind of education" will not be lost, it's simply being taught at SBU and not SBS.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 10 11:21 AM
I smell a rat.
By Feeney57 (3), Westhampton on Jul 8, 10 8:36 AM