By Susan Hill Smith for The Island Eye News
Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew celebrates its first birthday this month as volunteers return to a weekly schedule of Monday evening trash sweeps on Front Beach this summer from June 10 through Labor Day.
“We involved more than 400 volunteers over the course of summer last year, and we would love to top that total in 2019,” Co-founder Katrina Limbach said. “Remember, it’s flexible. You can volunteer as many Mondays as you like, and no advance registration is required. But if you come out three times, you will earn special gifts.”
Organizers will happily sign for volunteer hours. “We know a lot of students are looking for opportunities to help the community during the summer, and what could be more fun than volunteering at the beach?” Limbach added.
Each sweep lasts from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Volunteers sign in at the beach end of the access by the city restrooms/showers in the 1100 block of Ocean Boulevard. They are asked to clean at least 30 minutes. Reusable trash collection bags, gloves and hand sanitizer are provided. Afterward, crew members can gather at an Isle of Palms restaurant and enjoy a discount on food. Those who volunteer three times during summer 2019 will receive an Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew car decal and reusable shopping tote.
The June 10 kickoff sees IOP Cleanup Crew returning to The Windjammer, which will provide volunteers with free hot dogs for kids and 25 percent off other food.
Paid parking is available nearby in the city’s municipal lots and is free for vehicles with a Wild Dunes or Isle of Palms resident decal.
Limbach, an owner of Isle of Palms Beach Chair Company, and City Council Member Susan Hill Smith created IOP Cleanup Crew to help protect the coastal ecosystem from trash and build a sense of community among volunteers.
With guidance from the South Carolina Aquarium conservation team and its Citizen Science App, which includes a Litterfree Digital Journal, the crew recorded collecting more than 23,000 debris items during 11 sweeps. That total included more than 8,000 cigarette butts – which include toxic chemicals and plastic filters – and more than 10,000 other plastic items.
Follow Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew on Facebook for the latest details.