It was back in mid September of 2012 the Washington-based Ocean Conservancy conducted its International Coastal Clean-up across the globe. 10 million pounds of trash was collected— enough to fill ten Boeing 747 jumbo jets.
South Carolina’s coastline clean-up resulted in 19,000 pounds of trash collected, or eight-and-a-half tons.
Nick Mellos is a Marine Debris Specialist with the Ocean Conservancy. He says we all need to re-think the term “throwing away” trash. Mellos says once something is used up and becomes trash, it’s never really “thrown away,” but instead ends up in a landfill or recycling bin. Or blown around beaches, marshes, or down the street.
Mallos says South Carolina’s coastline clean up is always more complicated because of the state’s network of marshlands and wetlands. He says it’s from those “hidden” areas that many species of sea life are born.
“Trash doesn’t just threaten our beaches and our ocean,” Mallos said. “It does jeopardize the health and the resiliency of waterways and marsh habitats.”
Mallos says there are regional differences in the trash collected during this annual effort. He says the West Coast, the Pacific-Northwest and New England trash collections yield alot of discarded fishing gear. In areas that are popular with year-round beachgoers and tourists, Mallos says the beach trash consists mainly of food wrappers, cans, and soft drink bottles.
Sheree Bernardi of Charleston affiliate WTMA filed this report