You can make a difference with South Carolina litter clean-up

By Terasa Lott

Every year on the third Saturday of September, people around the state join together for Beach Sweep/River Sweep, the state’s largest one-day litter cleanup of beaches and waterways. Last year, 880 volunteers collected 27,452 pounds of litter during the event. Locally, 41 volunteers collected 149 pounds of litter from the area behind Magnolia Mall adjacent to Beaverdam Creek.

You may not litter or know anyone that does but nonetheless, it is a huge problem. It’s an eyesore in any community and can negatively affect property values, community safety, economic development, and tourism.

From an environmental standpoint, litter poses a threat to wildlife, most notably through entanglement and ingestion. Fishing nets, line, rubber bands, string, 6-pack beverage rings, and a host of other items can wrap around animals leading to injury, illness, suffocation, starvation, and even death. Litter may also cause injury, illness, or death when ingested. Wondering why an animal would try to eat a piece of litter? Litter may be mistaken for a natural food item. For example, a plastic bag floating in the ocean may be mistaken for a tasty jellyfish, a natural prey item for a sea turtle.

Most of the litter in our oceans, and there is a lot of it, is carried by rivers. All of the waterways in the Pee Dee eventually make their way into the Atlantic Ocean through Winyah Bay in Georgetown County.

The good news is we all have the power to make a difference. In addition to disposing of trash properly, you can report litter through the PalmettoPride Trash Tracker app or the Litter Buster’s Hotline 1-877-7-LITTER.

More information about additional inland cleanup locations can be found on the SC Department of Natural Resource website, while more information about coastal locations can be found on the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium website

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

Author: Duane Childers

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