Daytona Beach, FL – Now that the party is over, let the cleanup begin.
Throughout Volusia and Flagler counties, volunteers and workers are spending this morning on the beaches removing trash left behind by yesterday’s Independence Day crowds.
During an appearance this week on WNDB’s “Volusia Today” program, Volusia County Coastal Division Director Jessica Winterwerp says the 4th of July crowds often leave the beach as dirty as it gets all year, especially from those who violate the law even further by bringing alcohol, shooting off fireworks and dumping trash under their vehicles.
“We will have stepped up patrol [today],” Winterwerp added. “We are working very closely with the Sea Turtle patrol. We may be opening some [beach access] ramps a little bit later because we are under a timeline to get this trash off the beach before high tide.”
If there are any delays, Winterwers says, it will most likely be in Ponce Inlet and other areas which are typically less crowded during the 4th of July.
County officials hope extra measures that have been done to limit trash on the beach will make the cleanup a bit easier, such as adding extra trash cans on the beach and making litter bags available to beachgoers for free from beach toll booths.
“We’ll give you a [trash] bag,” Winterwerp stated. “Our law enforcement officers out there with Beach Safety have bags as well and so do our trash contractors.”
The county plans to focus first on high-traffic beaches once the Sea Turtle volunteers mark the nests and spread out from there to areas which are typically less crowded.
Anyone who wants to volunteer can just show up with bags or a bucket and start picking up litter anywhere they like, according to county spokesperson Shelley Szafraniec.
“Larger groups (15 people or more) can call 386-239-6414 or email email@example.com to coordinate their efforts,” Szafraniec stated. “Bags with trash should be placed inside any garbage can on the beach or next to it if the can is full.”
In Flagler Beach, a local group (the Flagler Beach All-Stars) are giving away free koozies and trash bags to whoever shows up at the Pier.
Nearly 50 people were rescued from the ocean by Volusia beach lifeguards on the 4th of July as rip currents grew stronger during the day.
Soft sand and high tide also played havoc, leaving many areas unaccessible to vehicles without 4-wheel drive, according to Volusia County Beach Safety Captain Tammy Malphurs.
“We had to close beach access ramps to driving due to capacity, in all areas, with the exception of the north end of the county,” Malphurs added. “All off beach parking lots were also at capacity.”