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Keep Pasco Beautiful To Hold Annual Coastal Cleanup

Keep Pasco Beautiful

Keep Pasco Beautiful is holding its annual coastal cleanup event Saturday morning, and anyone interested in helping the environment can join.

The organization is working with Ocean Conservancy to help identify areas where littering is the worst.

Ocean Conservancy is a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington D.C. They work to create environment policy within state and federal government.

Volunteers will be tracking what trash they pick up on data cards or the CleanSwell app.

Many different cleanup and education events will be held throughout the county. Kristen King, Keep Pasco Beautiful Coordinator, will be at Anclote Gulf Park in Holiday working with younger children and teaching them about littering.

She said while they might not be picking up a lot of trash, they’ll be learning a lot.

“They see that the trash is out there, and they're saying 'wow this is super gross,'” King said. “We tell them that's what the problem is, there's no garbage fairy, there's nobody that just magically goes around to picks this up.”

Credit Ocean Conservancy

She hopes that this first-hand experience will teach those children not to litter.

At another site, volunteers will be able to go into the mangroves around Pasco waterways and cleanup monofilament, fishing line that can hurt animals.

“We’re trying to prevent wildlife from being harmed,” King said. “But we’re also hoping to educate people.”

The coastal cleanup is held every year on the third Saturday of September, but last year volunteer efforts were affected by Hurricane Irma. Because of that, the amount of trash they picked up, as well as the number of volunteers, was significantly lower than previous years.

Last year, less than 700 people volunteered. However, this year King said they expect about 1,400 people to turn out. King said they’ve had so many people reach out that they’ve actually run out of T-shirts to give to them.

“The community has been outpouring with people wanting to come out and help,” she said.

If you aren’t able to make it out to the events, King said there are many ways you can help throughout the year. Keep lids on your trash cans and don’t throw trash in the beds of trucks so debris can’t fly around. And when going to beach, take back what you bring. If you’re on a boat in the water, you can also take trash bags to pick up any garbage that’s floating around.

"Know that it's not just our environment we're messing up," she said. "Just be conscientious about it."

More volunteers are still welcome to go out and help, more information can be found on the Keep Pasco Beautiful Website.

Bethany Hanson is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news reporter for spring 2018.
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