The environmental awareness, outreach and good will of Earth Day doesn’t need to rest with just a day every April.
The SC Sea Grant Consortium has coordinated its 25th annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep for 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, covering the Palmetto State. About 20 gatherings of volunteers are set across the Grand Strand, welcoming anyone who wants to pitch in to pick up litter from the beaches and in and along local waterways. Just check in with the respective site captain to sign up.
Susan Ferris Hill, the consortium’s director of communications and the coastal coordinator of the beach/river sweep day, laid out the various ways people’s help translates into a heap of refuse removed from our bodies of water and shore and lands.
Question | How has this day, on the third Saturday of September, become another special way to greet autumn, a nice reward after summer’s dog days and heat?
Answer | People really enjoy the opportunity to get outside and do something as a group to help the environment. It’s great for the community, and it really gives folks a sense of community pride. Also, it’s great for folks to know that there are other people out there who are like-minded in terms of environmental stewardship.
Q. | How big a chunk does our corner of South Carolina make in piling up gobs of garbage removed from our beaches and waterways?
A. | I checked on statistics from last year for your area. We had about 865 people, which is awesome, and that’s just Horry and Georgetown counties. That’s pretty consistent year to year. And last year, they picked up 6,801 pounds of debris; that translates into 3.4 tons.
Q. | In 25 years of this annual sweep day statewide, have the quantities and types of refuse changed?
A. | It really fluctuates year to year. Some years, we do pick up less, but there’s always the possibility for a particular year we had less volunteers. Some years, we pick up more; that could be because more volunteers were out there picking up debris.
Q. | What’s the most common kind of litter rounded up?
A. | By far – and we do itemize every piece – a lot of it is cigarette butts.
Q. | How easy has recruitment of site captains remained?
A. | It’s extremely consistent. In fact, most of the site captains we work with have been doing the Beach Sweep/River Sweep since it originated in 1988.
Q. | By what other means can all of us help to ensure litter prevention and cleanup goes all year round?
A. | The biggest thing would be, if people are out at the beach, to simply remember, that whatever they carry out to the beach to just carry it back out with them and put it in the proper receptacles. It’s pretty much common sense and courtesy.
Also ... we do have a lot of S.C. residents and visitors who walk the beach regularly or use the bike paths and running trails, or go out in the parks: It’s always great to hear that those folks, whenever they’re out, they carry a trash bag with them, and whatever they see, they pick up trash and they make sure they put it where it belongs.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.