Today, thousands of volunteers around the world will get together to clean beaches for the yearly International Coastal Cleanup Day by Texas Adopt-A-Beach program.

The event began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline. More than 100 countries come together each year and participate in a cleanup event, according to the event’s official website.

In Brownsville, Keep Brownsville Beautiful organizes the event in partnership with the Adopt-A-Beach program. This is the seventh year the organization has been doing the cleanup at Boca Chica Beach and it is an effort from the state, the county and the City of Brownsville.

“Our main goal is to clean the entire 7.8 miles of Boca Chica Beach. At the same time there will be an international group from Matamoros and they’ll be cleaning Playa Azul (the beach on Matamoros),” Eli de Leon, program coordinator for Keep Brownsville Beautiful, said.

De Leon said it will be nice for the community to assist in the cleanup because Boca Chica Beach is one of Texas’ hidden gems and there are no commercial properties there, making the beach a great place to go and spend time there as a family.

“It is our beach, there are no commercial properties there, no hotels, no restaurants, it is a heaven of ocean that we can go and enjoy and why not keep it healthy and clean for the ecosystem and ourselves, to see and enjoy whenever we want,” he said.

Since the Texas Adopt-A-Beach foundation began in 1986, more than 533,000 volunteers have removed 9,600 tons of trash from Texas beaches. That is more than 19,200,000 pounds of trash littered on beaches from South Padre Island to north of Galveston.

Organizers say one of the reasons the foundation has been so successful is because of the thousands of volunteers who show up for each beach cleanup. The most common trash collected is cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws.

“I believe that in order to make a change, it starts with us. We could read about it, we could preach about it but if we ourselves are not doing our part then we are not going to make a difference in anything,” De Leon said. “It is easy to point the finger at the other guy but if we do our part than maybe we will encourage others to do their part, and maybe we will lead in the right direction.”

At Boca Chica Beach registration starts at 8 a.m. and the cleanup will conclude at 2 p.m. Keep Brownsville Beautiful will provide equipment and a light lunch.

For more information about the cleanup at Boca Chica Beach, visit Keep Brownsville Beautiful on Facebook or call De Leon at (956) 459-1631.

Other locations that will participate in the cleanup are South Padre Island with SPI KATS. They will clean several beaches on the island including Andy Bowie Park and Beach Access No. 3 on the north side of the Island from 9 a.m. to noon. Another group will cleanup Beach Access No. 2 off of Highway 100. For more information on this location contact Danielle Delgado at (956) 761-3700.

By Nubia Reyna Staff Writer