NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Around 200 volunteers came together to get trash off our beaches and waterways Saturday at the Annual Beach and River Sweep.
The Beach Sweep 5K, now known as the Park Sweep 5K, lead the community clean up.
"Before the race started runners did some cleaning up and just walked around. It was easy this year because the park is fairly new," said Jim Troxell, race director for the Grand Strand Running Club.
75 runners removed about 10 bags of trash from the new sports complex.
As soon as the race finished, the Beach Sweep, hosted by Keep North Myrtle Beach Beautiful, kicked off.
Rob Kayton, a volunteer for the last 15 years said, "Scouts are taught at an early age, if you pack it in, pack it out. So it's important to encourage people to pick up their own trash."
For those who forgot to clean up after themselves, people of all ages came out to give North Myrtle Beach a sprucing up.
Common items found were things like beer and soda cans, plastic and cigarette butts.
"People come down here on vacation but this is our home and we have to be here all the time and there's cigarettes everywhere. You don't want to be on the beach and stuff with cigarettes everywhere," explained Emily Davis, a volunteer.
Wildlife is also a main focus for this clean up. Kayton explained, "Sea turtles see a plastic bag as a jelly fish. Every sea turtle and every bird that has been necropsies has had some form of plastic in their stomachs."
The clean up keeps our waterways looking beautiful and ensures the safety of kids and wildlife. By doing that, it also helps fuel our tourism driven economy.
"Imagine if our grandchildren and children and what if they couldn't come to the beach and enjoy it or enjoy or water ways. It'd be a great loss for them. We need to preserve and protect our natural recourses any we can," said Todd Metz, Director of Education and Conservation at Ripley's Aquarium.
Last year in South Carolina, over 5,200 volunteers removed around 65,000 pounds of litter from the state's beaches, marshes and waterways. Coordinators in North Myrtle Beach expect more trash to be collected in 2014 because the help from communities continue to grow.