Marshwalk restaurant owners clean up firework debris, litter

Marshwalk restaurant owners clean up firework debris, litter

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Despite last night's rain, the fireworks shined brightly over Murrells Inlet right after midnight Friday.

"I thought it was a good vibe. Everybody was happy having a good time and the fireworks show was spectacular," said Paula Nichols, owner of Bovine's and Wahoo's Fish House. "I think it was probably the best we've ever had."

Restaurant owners, like the Nichols, set sail on their boats around the inlet at 9 a.m. New Year's Day to make sure those beautiful fireworks don't damage their prized inlet.

"I feel good about it," Paula Nichols said. "I wouldn't do anything or vote for anything that would hurt this inlet."

They cleaned up firework debris as well as other litter scattered around the area. 40 bags of trash were collected, said Charlie Campbell, the owner fo Dead Dog Saloon.

"Actually when we go out to clean up there after the fireworks, we find a lot of just garbage that had nothing to do with the fireworks and, of course, we just pick up whatever the remnants are out there of the fireworks," Campbell said.

Campell said the fireworks themselves are made to be environmentally friendly and free of the chemical perchlorate.

"Everything that was shot off was all biodegradable, cardboard," he said. "We picked up a lot of it this morning."

However, Gary Weinreich, who lives in Murrells Inlet, said he thinks these fireworks will still harm marine life.

"The aluminum foil resembles a bait fish," he said. "It has a shiny flash as it's floating in the water and fish can ingest it. "

Weinreich said he has picked up hundreds of pieces after fireworks shows in the past.

"The fact is we probably only see 10-15% because most of it gets washed away, so the amount of debris going into the inlet is pretty significant," he said.

He said that percentage of pieces that can be picked need to be caught right at low tide, or around 7 a.m. Friday.

However, Campbell said they couldn't get out there with the boats until the water came in slightly, which is why they started at 9 a.m.

"We were here at I think the appropriate time to skim the remnants off the water," he said. "At mean low tide, you can't even get a boat out. You can't even get out there, so that would be impractical."

There are currently no set plans for fireworks this year. Campbell said there's a chance they could look at having shows every Monday night over the summer again because the biodegradable fireworks lessen the effects on the inlet.

Weinreich said he thinks everyone needs to think more about the environment.

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