Volunteer beach clean-up on the Coast
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies partnered with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup program to clean up beaches along the Coast of Harrison County in celebration of last week’s Earth Day.
Cleanup stations were set up at Jones Park, Long Beach Harbor, and the Coliseum. Each participant was given a trash picker, gloves, a bucket, and a trash bag.
Things like cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and food wrappers made up most of the garbage removed from the areas.
Theresa Madrigal, stranding coordinator at IMMS, and Jill Western, a student at Mississippi State, both say these materials can be very harmful to wildlife on land, in the air, and in the water. Madrigal said, “When this trash washes in or is left behind or comes from other water ways down onto the beach, the local wildlife can get entangled or ingest any trash that’s on the beach. So, this is something that we are very passionate about, making sure the beaches here are clean.”
Western said, “Most of the trash that’s up on the beaches is from humans. So, it’s important for us to come and kind of remove the trash that’s in the way. A lot of birds will pick it up, thinking it is food or sea turtles will also think that plastic bags are like jellyfish. So, it’s up to us to kind of remove that from them so they don’t mistake it as food.”
Madrigal says in the upcoming months the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies will have a turtle release and more cleanup days.