HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The most perfect day at the beach can turn sour if someone steps on glass or spots a lot of trash. Six Horry County communities are getting ready for litter clean-ups on Saturday. This time of year especially spreads awareness of the damage litter can do to your community because it's Earth Week.
Keep Horry County Beautiful's annual report says volunteers gathered almost 23,000 pounds of trash throughout Horry County last year. Volunteers plan to add to this year's count since the October floods have brought in more trash than usual.
In Little River, the floods created more and barriers at Waites and Bird Islands, trapping more trash. The good news is many residents and visitors recognize the need for help.
The Little River is hosting its fifth annual Little River Sweep this Saturday at 8 a.m. at Johnny Causey Landing. Participants will pick-up litter along the Intracoastal Waterway there.
Local charter boats, kayak and restaurant businesses also get involved. Getaway Adventures business owner Michelle Drake has volunteered every year and provides boat rides to clean-up participants. Drake frequently picks up trash with her customers at Waites Island. She says it's sad how much people throwaway in the waters.
One local business owner and volunteer took a WMBF News reporter out to Waites Island to show how much trash washes up to shore.
"It's really a shame we have these beautiful surroundings and then people just trash it. Last year we got 50-, 55-gallon bags of trash off the island, just the twentyish people I had on the boat. It's just, it's sad. And people need to know you can't just throw your trash out. If you take it with you bring it back," Drake said.
The Little River Sweep is different because it incorporated local art business Environmental Sculptures. The first sculpture was placed at Johnny Causey Landing after the first river sweep. The idea was inspired when Environmental Sculptures founder Jim Swaim was walking Waites Island and hated seeing the junk scattered across the beaches. To raise awareness for the dangers of litter to the community and wildlife, he teamed up with Little River Sweep creator Patrick Kelly. The two decided to fill sculptures shaped as animals with the trash they collected to remind people of the importance of picking up.
Since then, the idea took off. The sculptures are in various spots in Horry County, South Carolina and are now even in different parts of the United States.
In Horry County, you can find pelicans, a dolphin, crane and Carolina wrens. The wrens will be brought to the Little River Sweep to be filled with collected trash by kids that participated. However, the wrens are only temporary there.
The art is paid for by grants. The grant hasn't fully been granted, so the wrens will be moved to a Loris park later. A turtle will take their place when the grant is fulfilled. Most grants are filled through the city or environmental groups like Keep Horry County Beautiful and Palmetto Pride.
Anyone is invited to the six clean-ups on Saturday. For those who want to join the Little River Sweep, get to Johnny Causey Landing for biscuits and coffee before 8 a.m. Local businesses will provide the food and transportation for the efforts.
It's just one community cleanup happening on Saturday. Others include:
- Great American Cleanup at Grand Park and The Market Common district – starts at 9 a.m. – meet at The Market Common community garden at the corner of Pampas Drive and Meyers Avenue in Myrtle Beach
- Cleanup Day in Darlington is Saturday – starts at 8 a.m. – meet at the Darlington Chamber of Commerce at 38 Public Square in Darlington
- Fifth Annual Little River River Sweep – starts at 8 a.m. – meet at Johnny Causey Boat Landing in North Myrtle Beach
- Earth Day at the Bay – starts at 11 a.m. – meet at Ocean Bay Middle School at 905 International Drive in Myrtle Beach
- Racepath Community Cleanup – starts at 8 a.m. – meet at the Racepath Community Center at 1690 Racepath St., in Myrtle Beach
- Ronald McNair Boulevard, Dick Scobee Road and Christa McAuliffe Street Cleanup – starts at 9 a.m. – meet at St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church on Ronald McNair Boulevard at the intersection with Christa McAuliffe Street in Myrtle Beach
Everyone is invited to join.