ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – A group of volunteers spent part of the morning on Tuesday cleaning up trash and debris along the beaches after the Independence Day holiday.
Wild Dunes Resort partnered with the South Carolina Aquarium’s Conservation team and the community to perform a beach sweep along front beach on the Isle of Palms.
Kelly Thorvalson, Conservation Program Manager for the South Carolina Aquarium, said volunteers returned with full bags of trash they collected along the beach. “Unfortunately, holidays like the Fourth bring in lots and lots of people and that means lots of trash left on the beaches,” she said.
Firework debris is commonly returned during these beach sweeps after a holiday like July 4th. “Fireworks are banned on the beaches,” she said. “Hopefully, folks refrained from shooting off their own fireworks and enjoyed what the community provided.”
Isle of Palms Mayor Phillip Pounds also participated in the beach sweep.
“Big crowds yesterday on the island with fireworks and the Fourth of July, which brings in a lot of trash,” said Mayor Pounds. “It seems pretty clean given the volume of folks that were probably sitting here yesterday. But with the wind and tides, and there was a lot in the dune lines which I think is pretty typical, it was not too bad, but it did not talk long to fill up two bags.”
Mayor Pounds said the city has been discouraging plastic use, leaving behind litter and cigarette butts, and encouraging people to fill in holes along the beach through a number of campaigns.
He said a beach sweep takes place along front beach every week.
Debris collected during Tuesday’s sweep will go into the South Carolina Aquarium’s litter tracker, which they described as a Litter-Free Digital Journal, which will help them understand the most problematic debris and “ultimately find and monitor solutions to litter,” said Thorvalson.
Volunteers were also on Folly Beach collecting litter and debris Tuesday morning. Vanessa Oltmann is part of the Folly Association of Business Litter Committee.
She, and a group of about ten others hit the beach in the morning, picking up trash along the shoreline and in the dunes.
Oltmann said they found a lot of Styrofoam, plastic, alcohol, and fireworks. One woman in the group picked up about 1,000 pieces of firework debris within one block, according to Oltmann.
“If everybody would pick up one piece, one piece of litter, you would make a change. You’d make a difference,” said Oltmann.
The group also submitted their trash findings to the Litter-Free Digital Journal. Volunteers went back to the beach around 6 pm to pick up even more debris.