SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
Rather than sleeping in on their Saturday morning, more than 1,000 volunteers of all ages cleaned up various kinds of trash and items littering the beautiful South Padre Island. “It’s really dirty. It’s really dirty, but there’s a lot of … you see a lot of dead fish and a lot of dead eels. They’re really big also,” said volunteer Layla Prado.
Volunteers brought their hats and sunglasses, picked up a trash bag, and went to work. “Our beach is one of the most beautiful, natural resources that we have in our backyard, especially here in the Rio Grande Valley. And it’s important that, you know, we have volunteers out there to keep our beaches clean,” said Adopt-A-Beach Coordinator Joe Vega. South Padre Island isn’t the only coastline taking part in the cleanup. Thirty beach sites across the state also do their part to make beaches a place residents and tourists alike could enjoy. Vega says beachgoers can make a big difference just by doing the smallest act.
“Pack a trash bag with them and once they finish their picnic, or once they finish their beach day, just pick up your trash and just take it and dispose of it in our trash cans that we have here on the beach,” he said. The Adopt-A-Beach program is the most successful all-volunteer effort in the nation, according to the Texas General Land Office. In the past 25 years, more than 400,000 volunteers have picked up nearly 8,000 tons of trash from the Texas Gulf Coast.
BY PATRICK CHALVIRE