International Coastal Cleanup: 140 pounds of trash collected in Tigertail Beach

Volunteers collected Saturday 140 pounds of trash in Tigertail Beach during the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) day, according to organizers. The most common type of trash found were cigarette butts and food wrappers.

Susan LaGrotta of Friends of Tigertail Beach said the cleanup is important for Tigertail's visitors and its ecosystem. 

"We do it [...] to keep the beach pristine and enjoyable for beach-goers," LaGrotta said. "We use it as an educational tool to encourage people to keep the beach clean and the environment safe for the animals that live here." 

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Volunteers have continually held beach cleanups  on Tigertail since 1997 on a quarterly basis, according to LaGrotta. Since then, more than 2,000 volunteers have collected approximately 5,500 pounds of litter in the Marco Island beach.

On September of last year, 49 volunteers picked up 101 pounds of trash; 71 people volunteered for Saturday's event, including 34 Key Club youth members from Marco Island Academy and Lely High School.

"The beach is our backyard and we have to keep it clean," said Sommar Kashey, a student of Marco Island Academy. ""The trash could harm the wildlife and destroy the ecosystem." 

"I go to the beach once a week so I don't like it when I see trash," said Landon McClain from the Academy. 

"I have not missed a beach clean up probably in the last 12 years," said Katie O'Hara from the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Friends of Tigertail partners with Keep Collier Beautiful for Bay Days in April and for ICC in September. Friends of Tigertail also holds two other cleanups in July and December. The next beach clean up will be on Dec. 7.

An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year, according to Ocean Conservancy. That is the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic every minute, every hour, every day going into the ocean. 

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