Volunteer efforts underway to clean up local beaches on the ‘dirtiest beach day of the year’

Many regard July 5 as the dirtiest beach day of the year.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 10:04 AM EDT
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MASONBORO ISLAND, N.C. (WECT) - Thousands of people celebrated the Fourth of July at the beach, and plenty of trash is typically left behind once the holiday crowds leave the sand.

Due to this, many regard July 5 as the dirtiest beach day of the year.

Masonboro Island often sees a large crowd on holiday. Usually, there are no trash cans on the island, but for the past 13 years, volunteers with Masonboro.org have been picking up trash from sunrise to sunset on the 4 to ensure that their beach remains clean.

Last year, volunteers removed and recycled nearly 6,000 pounds of trash from the island. With storms interrupting the plans of many this year, the group found about 50 pounds yesterday. Masonboro.org said that a small amount of trash is a win for them.

Over 60 volunteers dedicated their time to cleaning the island, ensuring trash doesn’t harm marine life, and I was told that they don’t leave until the job is finished.

“We’ve got volunteers on the fourth and they were there throughout the day. We stayed until dark, we stay until the last bottle cap is picked up and we leave Masonboro Island as beautiful and as pristine as it deserves to be,” said Tom Hackler, president of Masonboro.org

Cans, bottles, Fourth of July decorations and food are some of the most common things left behind.

When it comes to Masonboro Island, it’s tough to haul thousands of pounds of trash back to the mainland. Hackler, however, said that after years of experience, they have it down to a science.

“Waste Management has supported us since 2007 by bringing a dumpster. We’ve got a location where we can place that and we have a trailer with a tractor that we can haul trash from the boats that we use to transport trash to the dumpster. Waste Management picks the trailer up and weighs the trash and we have an exact number, we know exactly what we’ve picked up every year,” said Hackler.

Right now, Masonboro Island looks pristine, but it’s another story for many inland beaches.

On the morning of July 5, Carolina Beach had overflowing trash cans and litter everywhere throughout the beach. People were up bright and early to help pick up the beach and put it back into its pristine condition.

If you plan on visiting the beach today, even for a short walk, you’re encouraged to pick up anything you see and throw it away. A good idea would be to bring a bag with you so you can easily pick up litter.