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Date of Issue: July 08, 2009

Holiday brings clean beaches campaign

Bob Geiger walks along the water in Bradenton Beach early July 4 to make sure litter left on the shore does not wash into the Gulf of Mexico. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

By the dawn’s early light, regular beach walkers picked up trash the mornings after the July 4 holiday celebrations.

The holiday weekend produced a traditional crowd to Anna Maria Island for sunning on the beaches, flag-waving at parades and oohs and ahs at the fireworks shows.

The weekend also produced a lot of litter, especially on the beaches and at the boat ramps, where volunteers turned out to collect discarded cans, bags and other garbage.

“There’s always trash to pick up,” said Carla Ring of Bradenton Beach. “And, for the holidays, there’s always a lot more trash.”

Across the state, the July 4 week was marked as Clean Beaches Week, proclaimed such by Gov. Charlie Crist, who encouraged people to take special care of Florida’s 825 miles of beaches.

“We are fortunate to live in a state of such natural beauty,” Florida Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary Mimi Drew stated in a news release. “Most Floridians are only a short drive to a beautiful sandy beach. As you enjoy this Fourth of July weekend, respect the environment by leaving the beach the way you found it to keep our beaches among the best in the world.”

 Drew also encouraged beachgoers to keep the shores clean and safe through the summer, offering the following tips:

• While packing a beach picnic, make sure to bring an extra trash bag to take trash home.

• While most public beaches have trash bins, inevitably some trash can blow out of the bins, so it’s best to take the trash home for disposal. If trash is found on the beach, don’t hesitate to pick it up. Beverage cans and lids are an environmental hazard and can be deadly for wildlife. 

• Don’t feed wildlife, such as shore birds.