Beach Aid

Joanna Elliot of Orange City was helping the beach clean up after the Fourth of July celebrations in front of Sun Splash Park in Daytona Beach on Friday, July 5. 

More than 55,000 pounds of trash was collected from the beach July 5, 2018.

Preliminary observations indicate that people heeded early pleas to not repeat the performance.

The Volusia County Coastal Division worked to remove all debris from the beach, focusing first on high traffic areas after sea turtle volunteers patrolled the beach and marked sea turtle nests.

Volusia County Councilwoman Billie Wheeler, whose district covers the beach, was on hand for the cleanup.

“This is my beach; this is our beach. I've been blasting it for the last two weeks about taking pride in our beach,” Councilwoman Wheeler said. “Some of the folks who have already been out there said surprisingly it’s cleaner this year than last year. So, I am really excited. The messes that were left were confined in one area.”

Nancy Keefer, president of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, had her staff was out in full force for the beach cleanup.

“It’s so important for us to make sure our beaches are clean,” Ms. Keefer said. “We’re in the middle of our summer season. We’ve got a lot of visitors coming in from out of the area so this is the chamber’s way to give back to the community.”

Danielle Ramsey, sustainability and volunteer coordinator for Volusia County’s Environmental Management Division, spearheaded the cleanup. The division offers volunteer opportunities for anyone interested in the environment.

“I anticipated 20-30 (volunteers) for those that registered beforehand, but we’ve got tons of people out there,” Ms. Ramsey said. “We welcome anybody that’s in the area, too. I think people are really taking a personal responsibility and making sure they clean up their own trash. We really appreciate that.”

Audrey Brown, 10, of Daytona Beach was out with her family, picking up trash.

“I want to help the environment and I’ve always had an interest in the sea and I wanted to be a marine biologist so I thought this would be a good start,” Audrey said.

Her mother, Debra Brown, said they had family from Orlando and Norway who made it a point to come help out.

Fireworks are the big problem on the beach, said Capt. Tamra Malphurs, public information officer for Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.

“We’ve been putting lots of information out there why it’s so important to clean up,” Capt. Malphurs said. “The fireworks do create an enormous amount of trash and it is extremely difficult to pick that stuff up because it’s a bunch of tiny pieces and it’s often ingested by sea life. Our coastal division is working very hard and have a strategic plan in place to remove the debris. We do ask people to pick up anything they can as well. We have hundreds of thousands of people that come down to the beach for Fourth of July so it’s a challenge.”

She added there are other big events throughout the year and people should be doing their part to pick up after themselves year-round, whether it's the beach, park or anywhere. Capt. Malphurs recommended bringing your own trash bag wherever you go. “Visit our beach, have a great time, but leave only your footprints behind” she said.

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