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A patriotic pickup of beaches' trash

Dozens of volunteers clear away tons of trash and fireworks from shorelines.

Published July 13, 2007


What did you do with those spent holiday sparklers and smoldering bottle rockets?

Some of your neighbors hope you didn't stick them in the sand, or for that matter, toss them in the bay.

"We love our beach," said Carol Curtiss, who came out last week to pick up trash off Picnic Island Beach. "We love our picnic area. We want to keep it nice."

Curtiss was one of more than 50 volunteers who picked up about a ton of trash at Picnic Island Park the morning after the July Fourth holiday.

Thirteen-year-old David Escobio came with a group from Camp Bayshore, run by Bayshore Christian School.

"We found bottles, cans, napkins, plastic bags and pieces of fireworks," he said. He doesn't litter, he said, and he doesn't plan to either, after cleaning up after others. "I'll think about it even more."

At Ben T. Davis Beach along the Courtney Campbell Parkway, 30 volunteers picked up about 4 tons of trash, said Andy Lutton, executive director of the Mayor's Beautification Program. That was about the norm compared with past years, when junior lifeguards have shouldered the cleanup burden. This year, the nonprofit program recruited volunteers to lend a hand. They plan to make it an annual cleanup event.

Fireworks remnants can be a fire hazard if placed in trash cans too soon.

But if not picked up quickly from shores, they float out to sea, where they contaminate water and choke fish.

Carrie Pratt contributed to this story. Elisabeth Dyer can be reached at or 813 226-3321.

[Last modified July 12, 2007, 08:34:46]

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