Marine conservationist helps clean up the beach

Marine artist, conservationist visits Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) –  World-renowned marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey spent Sunday meeting fans and signing shirts at coastal grand today, but his mission wasn't just at the mall. He visited out beaches and sponsored a clean up this weekend.

Sport fishing fans in Myrtle Beach got quite the treat Sunday with famous artist Guy Harvey signing some of his work. Harvey- whose sport fishing artwork adorns t shirts clothing- and other merchandise, met with fans at the Palmetto Moon Shop in the Coastal Grand Mall Sunday afternoon, kicking off a summer signing tour.

But Guy Harvey isn't just an artist and a sportsman, he's also a marine conservationist, promoting the reminder to leave the beach how you found it.

From where you swim, to what fish you eat, pollution can greatly affect your health, not to mention the harm it does to the marine life we share our shores with.

"There are many ways we negatively affect marine life through pollution," Harvey said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports two-thirds of beach closings are because bacteria levels in beachwater exceed public health standards. Harvey runs an ocean foundation - to help ensure future generations can enjoy oceans like off our coast.

"It is a delicate balance, and as the human population grows, we need to be more mindful of their fragility," he said.

The NRDC also pushes for improvements in our beachwater quality, reporting that our beaches here in Horry county exceed the state's daily maximum bacteria levels.

Testing the waters once a week - the environmental action group found that in 2011 Springmaid Beach has the highest percentage in the state, followed by Briarcliffe Acres and Myrtle Beach.

"It's a concern no matter where you live, not just on the coast," Harvey said. Even inland can affect the water and we need to be mindful of that."

So what is being done to clean up the coast where you live? Cities use deep ocean outfalls to protect swimmers in the grand strand.  These projects push dirty water deeper into the ocean, protecting swimming areas and reducing beach erosion.

Groups also gather to pick up trash and cut down on pollution - including a group sponsored by Harvey Saturday in North Myrtle Beach.

"The clean-up we sponsored yesterday was just a small part of telling people the importance of sustaining the marine environment," he said

It's an international mission he has brought here to the grand strand

"We've done them in other countries and we just want to encourage people to participate locally and make a difference," Harvey added.

If you want to get involved and make a difference in cutting down pollution on our coast, there are many community clean ups. The next one will be Saturday June 8 in Bucksport. Horry County says so far this year, community cleanup events have collected over seven tons of litter.

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