MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Memorial Day vacationers have long since hit the road, and now city workers in Myrtle Beach are left to clean up what some say was a "mess" left behind.
Since last Thursday, city workers have collected and hauled more than 11.5 tons of trash out of the City of Myrtle Beach - an amount up 4.5 tons from what was collected during the 2011 Memorial Day holiday.
"We're certainly hand-picking the trash on Kings Highway [and] Ocean Boulevard," Mark Kruea, spokesman for the City of Myrtle Beach, said. "We're emptying the trash cans, and we did that every single day."
While city workers worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to clean up the area, some business owners said they're appalled with amount of trash left behind in their parking lots and at their businesses.
We visited The Bagel Factory on Kings Highway and 20th Avenue North on Sunday morning, only to find beer bottles, wine containers, fast food bags and even clothing littering the complex's parking lot.
Ruben Luster said it's the dirtiest he's ever seen the area.
"We didn't expect it to be bad at all because we've never had a problem," he said.
Luster claims his business dropped significantly over the weekend because of a jam-packed parking lot, and the cleanliness of it. He says his customers couldn't find a spot to park and when they did, the spots were littered with glass and trash.
Matthew Rublowitz, of Fat Matt's Ice Cream, says he saw a drop too at his store that neighbors The Bagel Factory.
"If we're going to drive in and see that, honestly we're not going to stop," he said. "We're going to keep going."
The City of Myrtle Beach says it's not responsible for cleaning and attending to private parking lots, but both Rublowitz and Luster wanted to know what was done over the weekend to enforce littering laws.
Myrtle Beach Police spokesman Capt. David Knipes says officers issued only three citations for littering over the holiday weekend. Fines for the violations range from $262-$469.
Rublowitz and Luster hope police will more actively enforce the law during future holiday weekends.
"To litter and throw trash on the ground – it makes Myrtle Beach look bad and we're not," Rublowitz said.