On September 19, Friends of Tigertail Beach (FOT) held their annual International Beach Cleanup event. The cleanup was held in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup that took place around the world.
Volunteers, with gloves and trash bags in hand, combed Tigertail in search of litter, debris and other harmful materials. Data cards were given to participants in order to document their findings. The results were then sent to the National Ocean Conservancy and were recorded.
Over 75 people showed up this year and 15 bags of trash, weighing in at a staggering 200 pounds, werecollected. The findings included: flip flops, cigarette butts, straws, cans, beer bottles, plastic bottles, bottle caps and miscellaneous plastic. Company Truly Nolan brought an impressive 26 people. They cleaned the boardwalks, the beachfront and surrounding areas. The Marco Ocean Beach Resort team brought 6 members who were in charge of the parking lot, playground and beach. FOT member Art Dobberstein, on paddleboard, traversed the lagoon area where he found a plethora of bottles and cans left by fishers. Some brave members of FOT cleaned the generally problematic, and smelly, dumpster area. Collier County provided volunteers with water bottles, T-shirts, gloves and trash bags.
Friends of Tigertail is an independently run organization that holds beach cleanups quarterly. Besides cleanups, FOT is all about raising awareness. “We try and educate people about picking up garbage,” said President Linda Colombo. “Everybody seems to be getting the idea that juice straws are bad, beverage straws are bad, cigarette butts are bad. Those are the things that can be harmful to wildlife.” FOT also holds interactive presentations about local birds that come to Marco Island to nest, as well as shell talks and other special events aimed ateducating the public. FOT strongly believes that preserving our beaches is important, and something that should be taken seriously, especially in a community like Marco Island.
According to the Ocean Conservancy, “10 to 28 billion pounds of plastic enter our oceans annually.” While this number is large and rather intimidating, it’s the little things like beach cleanups that help combat issues of pollution. Awareness and action, above all else, can help make a better tomorrow, so why not start today?
If you’d like to become a member of Friends of Tigertail, or would like any other information, please visit their website at: www.friendsoftigertail.com.