The beach is a genuine treasure, and a beach sweep is a terrific way to help keep it that way.
One of our greatest natural resources is our ocean and coastlines. This is hugely apparent here in the Lowcountry. People who come to visit, do so in large part to enjoy the beaches and waters around Charleston. Many of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals are oceanfront, just steps from the sand and surf.
Ocean pollution is a humongous problem, and it often starts at the beach.
Area beaches are public. As such they are open to everyone, whether they own property here, rent a vacation home, or are just visiting for the day.
When the beach gets crowded, particularly during the peak summer months, the trash left behind can be shocking.
It is all of our responsibility to try our best to keep them in clean, if not pristine, condition.
Here in South Carolina, there’s a statewide Beach Sweep River Sweep that takes place on a Saturday each fall. This year’s installment was supposed to happen September 15th. However, due to Hurricane Florence, it was rescheduled to October 20th.
Read more about it here.
However, once a year just isn’t enough to keep our precious beaches clean. As a result, some committed local residents created the IOP Cleanup Crew. This amazing effort, which I covered in a previous blog, netted impressive results.
Check out what they were able to gather in just eleven hour-long sessions of beach sweep on the IOP:
Now that peak season is over, they have switched to a monthly beach sweep, including one last night. Each cleanup is followed by a gathering at a local eatery like The Windjammer for food and drinks specials for participants. It’s become a rollicking good time, for locals and visitors, alike. You can stay abreast of the latest on their Facebook page.
There’s one graphic that really got my attention recently. It’s the amount of time it takes for certain kinds of trash to decompose. The numbers are shocking. I’m putting it in as the featured graphic on this page. But to recap a couple of stats, check this out….
Shocking Stats: The Time it Takes Decompose in the Ocean…
- Plastic bag – 10 to 20 years
- Aluminum can – 200 years
- Tin can – 50 years
- Plastic bottle – 450 years
- Styrofoam cup – 50 years
- Disposable diaper – 450 years (ewww, that’s a long time to have a dirty diaper lying around!)
- Fishing line – 600 years.
Wow. That really makes one stop and think. And possibly rethink some habits, like getting plastic bags at the grocery store, or single use water bottles, both of which can so easily blow away on a windy beach.
So help us keep our beaches clean, with a beach sweep if you’re so inclined. It doesn’t have to be an official one. Just next time you find yourself on the beach, conduct your own personal beach sweep and pick up whatever litter you see. There are garbage cans conveniently located at beach access paths.
And remember to call EP, because our Isle of Palms vacation rentals are near the loveliest beaches around.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger
Beach litter, and ocean pollution in seas and waterways, has become huge headlines lately. And for good reason. It’s a serious problem.
We here in the Lowcountry, we love and take great pride in our beaches. It’s one of the primary things that drew us here in the first place, and continues to draw folks to Charleston.
The beaches, especially those on the Isle of Palms, also tend to draw a lot of day trippers. And unfortunately, not everyone cleans up after themselves. Beach litter is everywhere.
When I travel to other countries and then return home, I am often shocked by how much people in America litter. It is a chronic problem all across the country.
The Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew tackling beach litter one butt at a time
Several concerned IOP residents organized a weekly beach litter cleanup during the peak summer season, which I covered in this blog. It involved folks gathering at Front Beach, picking up litter along the beach for 30 minutes to an hour, then meeting at a local watering hole for special drink and food specials. It became a fun community event for both locals and kind people visiting the Isle of Palms. They did a total of eleven sweeps beginning the last Monday in June.
Now that peak season officially ended on Labor Day, they are keeping up the effort. Instead of a weekly deal, they’ve switched to a monthly basis. The first monthly sweep will be Monday, October 8th, and each second Monday of the month after that. October 8th signup with start at 5:30. November, December and January signups will be at 4:30 each time to account for the earlier sunsets.
The October 8th beach litter sweep will be followed by a gathering and specials at Papi’s Taqueria, a new eating place that’s getting a lot of positive buzz here on the IOP. It’s a great, hip beach spot. They’re located at 1012 Ocean Boulevard. Here’s a link to Papi’s website.
Yikes! Check out the IOP’s official beach litter tally
Part of the beach sweep/beach litter effort was to try and assess the kind of garbage people are leaving on the beach. The good folks at the South Carolina Aquarium provided resources to help litter-picker-uppers to keep track of what they collected. Following are the results.
Plastic straws/stirrers – 833
Other plastics – 9,407
Cigarettes/filters – 8,142
Cigars, lighters, tobacco packaging – 282
Styrofoam – 809
Medical supplies/personal hygiene – 410
Cans, stakes and misc. metal – 388
Fishing gear – 141
Glass – 117
Balloons – 78
Large items like building materials – 49
Other misc. items – 2,445
Total – 23,101 trash items
It included 10,240 plastic items as well as 8,424 items related to smoking. Many of those were cigarette butts, which often also include small pieces of plastic.
Wow, that’s a whole lot of trash, and that’s just what got officially counted. I sure am glad it’s no longer on the beach, or in the ocean.
Thank you, Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew!
Here’s a great article from the Island Eye News with the full story.
So when you are visiting the beach, please make use of the garbage cans and recycling bins located at beach access points. And remember, when you are looking for a great Charleston beach house, to call EP.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger