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By: Mary Jean Yon, Executive Director, on July 02, 2018
The Fourth of July is a day of celebration, family, friends, picnics, parades… you name it. And for the most part, the day typically concludes with fireworks displays as we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence that occurred on July 4, 1776. Then, there’s July 5 - the day we look around and realize what a good time everybody had on the holiday. Somewhere along the way, July 5 became known as the dirtiest beach day of the year because of remnants from fireworks displays and fun-loving fans who littered on our beaches.
There are many things you can do to help decrease the amount of litter left to deal with following July 4 celebrations. The simplest and most logical approach is to place your trash and recyclables in the proper receptacles. If the cans are full, take your trash and recyclables with you when you leave and dispose of it properly. Also, try using reusable cups, plates and utensils. Please stay away from plastic bags which have a tendency to blow away and end up in the water.
But back to July 5, the dirtiest beach day of the year! Five years ago, the team at Keep Sarasota County Beautiful created the Liberty Litter Cleanup Program (#PackInPackOut) which targeted area beaches hit hardest by July 4 celebrations and organized volunteers to carry out cleanups on the morning after. Volunteers have been averaging two tons of trash collected each year and this year there are nine Sarasota County beaches on the list to be cleaned up. Another great idea for cleanup efforts at Sarasota beaches is informally referred to as “Operation Yellow Bag.” Beachgoers are handed a yellow bag for their trash and then turn the bags back in (full of trash) as they leave the beach. Here's the PSA video for "Operation Yellow Bag".
And it’s not just Keep Sarasota County Beautiful doing all this good work. The following affiliates all along the Gulf coast of Florida have similar programs in place to clean up beaches on either July 5 or the weekend following:
Over on the other side of the state, we have Keep Nassau Beautiful which sponsors the Fireworks Round Up with a catchy slogan of #WhatGoesUpMustComeDown as they clean up beaches on Amelia Island on July 5. As always, Keep Brevard Beautiful is hosting its cleanup on July 6. Staff and volunteers are also handling the cleanup for a fireworks show at Port Canaveral. Visit the Keep Florida Beautiful calendar to learn more about these and other affiliate events.
So, here’s wishing you a happy, tidy July 4 and offering you an open invitation to jump in with your local affiliate and get the month off to a great start!