Saturday, October 16, 2021

Beach Clean-Up Volunteers Essential to Keeping Marco’s Beach Top Rated

“Trash is trash, whether it is biodegradable or plastic.”

~ Katie O’Hara

The Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee (BACR) recognizes that the key to Marco Island’s economic success is maintaining the health of its pristine beaches. The health of its beaches and coastal resources are critical to the continued economic vitality of Marco Island. BACR was established to advise the City Council on issues related to protecting and preserving these important natural resources.

Photos by Maria Lamb | Please leave your dogs at home!

The Committee has been very fortunate to have a partnership with its residents and businesses through its very popular “Love your Beach” monthly clean-ups. The monthly beach clean-ups are coordinated by BACR with monthly sponsorships by local businesses and organizations. Each sponsor brings with them at least 30+ volunteers for the monthly clean-ups. Residents also bring friends and family members to the clean-ups. It has become a popular monthly community event. Thanks to all the 2019 sponsors for their strong support.

For 2019, the Love Your Beach Clean Up Sponsors were VACASA Vacation Homes, Marco Island Sail & Power Squadron, JW Marriott, Marco Island Association of Realtors, Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, CJ’s on the Beach, Marco Island Civic Association, Marco Island Women’s Club and Hilton Hotels. 

Sponsors on the 2019 Love Your Beach T-Shirts are Marco Island Yoga, Marco Island Water Sports; Marco Island Florist, JW Marriott, Coastal Breeze News, Little Bar Restaurant, MICA, Greenscapes, Kathein Jewelers, AP Builders, Condee Electric, Marco Island Clothing Co., Mutual of Omaha, Marco Island Shell Club, Red Rooster, Gear Promotions, Katherine O’Hara, Ace Painting Cub-Scout Troop 234, Marco Island Yoga, America’s Boating Club and Blue Guard Innovations.

At the end of each clean-up, BACR members and volunteers sort and weigh the trash collected during the two-hour clean-up. Volunteers are always shocked to see how much trash is collected from a “seemingly pristine and clean beach.”

The most common items collected are plastic bottles and bottle caps, plastic wrappers of all sizes, plastic cutlery, plastic cups and lids bearing hotels’ names and logos, along with straws both plastic and biodegradable. Making a persistent showing are cigarette butts; close to the surf and hidden under the white sand, and also around the trash cans and even by the dune grasses. 

All these items were brought to the beach by someone and left behind. At some point, these pollutants will make their way into the marine environment. Sadly, the smaller pieces such as cigarette butts are easily mistaken by birds and marine creatures as food.

With the increasing popularity of Marco’s Beach as a top destination, more and more visitors are expected to flock to Marco’s pristine beaches. Visitors bring food and trash and even dogs to the beach. A dog loose on the beach, especially during nesting and migratory season, poses a serious threat to the wildlife. The role of volunteers is vital in keeping our beaches clean and healthy for future generations. 

Next Beach Clean-Up: Saturday, January 11, 2020, at 8 AM at South Beach. Sponsored by Marco Island Academy Key Club.

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