BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — It’s the single largest statewide volunteer cleanup of beaches, marshes and waterways.
The 32nd annual South Carolina beach and river sweep brought nearly 150 volunteers down to clean up old town Bluffton and the area’s directly bordering the May River.
“So the May River, we like to say is the figurative and literal backbone for the town of Bluffton, and so having these events allows us to give back to the May River,” said Beth Lewis, Town of Bluffton Water Quality Program Administrator. “We collect litter which we know can end up in the May River through stormwater runoff.”
Thousands of volunteers across the state participate annually in this event.
This year, it was the children that overwhelmingly showed out for the community cleanup. Something especially heartwarming for event organizers and volunteers, who know these kids will one day take over the area.
“They’re our future,” said Lindsay Bowerman from Cross Schools. “So if they can see us modeling how much we love the environment and how much we’ve been blessed to live in this area, and they can join us and they can see what an impact it makes, we’re setting ourselves up for success in the future by creating kids that just love the Lowcountry, love being out here and also love serving their community.”
Each volunteer was asked to record data on the litter they collected. The data was gathered and sent off to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as well as the Ocean conservancy’s worldwide data, so communities can better identify and target anti-litter education.
“We collect this data and we will provide it to the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and that information gets tallied on a statewide level and then it actually goes to the ocean conservancy as well and it gets included in a world-wide tally,” said Lewis.
Being that the May River is a tidal river, it’s home to lots of estuary plants and animals. Making litter collection all the more important to ensure that these life forms keep from being disturbed.