Seventy-one energetic volunteers congregated at Tigertail Beach on Saturday, September 21 taking part in the International Coastal Clean-up, hosted by Friends of Tigertail.
Started in Texas in 1986 by two women with the goal of clearing coastline areas of debris and documenting the types of litter found, this annual clean-up has evolved into a worldwide effort, with many American communities as well as over 90 countries taking part.
The Tigertail Beach participants included 34 Key Club students from Marco Island Academy and Lely High School, students and a teacher from Tommie Barfield Elementary, families with children, vacationers, and six Marriott employees.
Randee Ehrlich and Rolando Vasallo traveled from Bonita Beach with their kayak, and were able to navigate areas unreachable on foot. Also present were Katie O’Hara from the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, Tonia Selmeski, the City of Marco Island Environmental Planner, and Jim Zimmerman, the Executive Director of Keep Collier Beautiful.
Collier County donated supplies such as bags, gloves, water, participation certificates, and t-shirts, as well as the forms given to the volunteers to tabulate the types of debris collected. Interesting articles found were a barnacle covered tire, a life jacket and a hula hoop. At 62 each, cigarette butts and food wrappers tied for the most common category of litter, with many cans, bottles, large pieces of wood and other construction materials recovered as well. In all, there were 16 full garbage bags, amounting to 140 pounds of litter.
The Friends of Tigertail group is grateful for the many volunteers who help keep the beach beautiful. They host quarterly beach clean-ups, with the next one scheduled on December 7.
More information about the Friends of Tigertail clean-ups and other activities can be found on their website: www.FriendsofTigertail.com or their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FriendsofTigertailBeach.
The worldwide tabulation of trash collected will be available in a few weeks at the website of the Ocean Conservancy: www.OceanConservancy.org.