The annual event that happens every year on the third Saturday of September, took place last weekend on Saturday as it aims to keep South Carolina oceans and waterways clean.
The ‘Beach Sweep’ event is becoming more and more popular every year as thousands of people join the event to make the area cleaner.
“Not only picking up trash today but all the information we gather will hopefully keep beaches clean throughout the year,” said Frank Johnson, WBTW’s chief meteorologist and a beach-cleanup site captain.
The first time the cleanup took place in 1988 and was organized by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. Since then, the annual cleanup event is becoming more and more popular among local residents and now thousands of them come together for once in a year to cleanup the trash from the beaches and waterways.
“It’s the biggest one-day cleanup in the state,” Johnson said.
Johnson has been a site captain for the past 12 years, leading the Pawley’s Island cleanup.
“There are a lot of areas in South Carolina where we just have beautiful waterways, and a lot of people take care of them and we love the area we live in,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, the volunteers are divided into groups and are sent to different locations. He added that every volunteer is given a garbage bag and a checklist to help them keep track of the trash they’re finding.
“All this information goes back to the state, Johnson said. “SCDNR is involved as well, and it’s actually part of a global ocean cleanup, the Ocean Conservatory, so they take all this data and they can figure out where the trash is coming from.”
The organizers and volunteers are happy that the event is not only about cleaning the area they are given to, but also raises awareness to the locals to keep the environment litter free and clean.
“I mean, it’s fun to be out on the beach in the morning picking up trash, and it’s a great way to encourage that in children, and as they grow up, maybe they’re more conscience about littering or picking litter up when they see it,” Johnson said.