TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — July Fourth celebrations are over and now the only thing left behind to show for it is trash along the beach. That’s why a group of volunteers spent Wednesday cleaning up the beaches on Tybee Island.
“Bits of microplastic end up being bits of sand eventually. So we don’t want a plastic beach,” said Tim Arnold, Manager of Fight Dirty Tybee.
After the last firework goes off and crowds leave the shore, city workers scan the beaches picking up trash scattered across the sand. Anything they miss is scooped up by volunteers the next morning.
“It’s very important. It’s just an easy, fun way to give back,” said Jackie Wallace, who brought her two kids with her to help clean up. “We love the beach, so whatever we can do to keep it a little nicer for other beachgoers ourselves, the animals, the ocean, the world. So it’s just a fun way and easy way for us to do something as a family.”
Fight Dirty Tybee organizes the volunteer trash pickup. They say beachgoers can help make their job easier by designating one person in their group to scan the sand and pick up any litter before they leave. The goal is to make sure you don’t leave anything that could end up in the ocean and in an animal’s stomach.
“Brown pelican that’s so prevalent on the beach. They’re looking for prey and they go straight down and when they come up, they open up that glorious beak and whatever’s in the water goes in there,” Arnold said. “They toss it back, they can’t get rid of it. So cigarette butt floating in the water, a piece of plastic, it’s in their belly.”
The volunteers walk up and down the shores filling their green buckets with whatever they find. Straws, cigarette butts, cans and plastics are what they find.
“Just leave your footprints. I mean, pick up your trash. It’s so easy,” Kailey Garrison said. “There’s so many trash cans that you can put your stuff in on the way out. Just make sure that any wrappers and cans go back in your cooler and then just dispose of things properly. And also don’t smoke on the beaches.”
After every holiday, Fight Dirty Tybee volunteers dig through the sand for trash, however throughout the year they also come out every other Sunday to make sure the beaches are clean.