Florida Volunteers Clean Up Over 1,000 Pounds of Trash from One Beach Post-July 4th

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jul 05, 2024

On the morning of July 5th, 115 dedicated volunteers gathered at Jacksonville Beach to clean up the remnants of Fourth of July celebrations. Armed with gloves and trash bags, they were ready to tackle the mess left behind by beachgoers.

The annual cleanup effort is organized by JEA and Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol.

Discoveries During the Cleanup

Among the litter collected were fireworks, clothing, and even a prescription medication bottle full of marijuana.

An aerial view of many people on a beach in 2023 during a historic heatwave, many under umbrellas and in the water.

Source: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Mark Pecci, a volunteer, remarked on the variety of items found, highlighting the unexpected nature of some discoveries. His daughter, Victoria, emphasized the importance of maintaining a clean beach for the community and wildlife.

Impact on Marine Life

Kevin Brown from Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol shared the significance of the cleanup for marine life. The debris poses a threat to nesting females and emerging hatchlings, particularly sea turtles that nest along Jacksonville’s coast.

Underwater Photography of Ocean

Source: Jeremy Bishop/Pexels

Keeping the beaches clean helps protect these vulnerable species and ensures their survival.

The Effort in Numbers

By the end of the cleanup, volunteers had collected over 1,000 pounds of trash. This impressive haul included plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other debris left behind by beachgoers.

Shoreline in Broward County, Florida, where there is a high risk of rising sea levels

Source: Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis/Getty Images

The event highlighted the community’s commitment to preserving the natural beauty of Jacksonville Beach and protecting its wildlife.

Volunteers' Dedication

Volunteers like Jillian, who participated in a similar cleanup at Deerfield Beach, expressed their dedication to the cause.

Two Person in Long-sleeved Shirt Shakehand

Source: Cytonn Photography/Pexels

“Last year we were here. There were seven of us and we collected 350 pounds of trash in 45 minutes,” she said. This year, with more volunteers, the impact was even greater.

Collaborative Efforts Across Florida

The Broward County chapter of Surfrider-organized cleanup at Deerfield Beach collected 880 pounds of plastic, cardboard, and other debris.

An expansive landfill overflowing with garbage such as plastic bags, boxes, and assorted refuse, situated on a coastal area with the ocean in the background

Source: Antoine GIRET/Unsplash

These coordinated efforts demonstrate a statewide commitment to protecting Florida’s coastlines.


The Importance of Education

Victoria Pecci stressed the need to educate people about the importance of cleaning up after themselves.

A photograph of a woman using her smartphone

Source: Freepik

“Teaching people to clean up after themselves in general, but that other animals and wildlife need to live here too, is crucial,” she said.


Protecting Sea Turtles

Leatherback, loggerhead, and green sea turtles nest on Florida’s beaches from March 1 to October 31.

An image of a giant turtle swimming in the ocean

Source: Wikimedia

Keeping the beaches clean is essential for the survival of these species. Volunteer efforts play a big role in providing a safe environment for these turtles to nest and hatch.


Community Engagement

The cleanup events not only benefit the environment but also foster community engagement. Participants bond over their shared goal of preserving the beaches.


These events provide an opportunity for people to come together, make a difference, and inspire others to take action.


Future Cleanup Events

Interested in joining the cleanup efforts? The Miami chapter of Surfrider, in collaboration with Florida International University, has scheduled a cleanup on Friday from 3-5 p.m. at Miami Beach.

An open Calendar book.

Source: Eric Rothermel

Volunteers are encouraged to participate and contribute to preserving the beauty and ecological health of Florida’s coastlines.


A Call to Action

The success of these cleanup events highlights the importance of continued efforts to protect Florida’s beaches. Community members are encouraged to participate in future cleanups and to be mindful of their impact on the environment.

Many people seen on the beach under umbrellas in the daytime.

Source: Alexandre Perotto/Unsplash

Every small action counts towards creating a cleaner, safer habitat for wildlife and a more enjoyable beach experience for everyone.


The Bigger Picture

While the Fourth of July celebrations are a time for fun and festivities, they also remind us of our responsibility to the environment.

A photograph of a plastic bottle floating in the ocean

Source: Freepik

By coming together to clean up after these events, we can ensure that Florida’s beaches remain beautiful and welcoming for all.