Annual Fall Beach Cleanup a success in Matagorda and Sargent
The aftermath of Imelda did little to deter dozens of volunteers from participating in the Annual Fall Adopt-A-Beach cleanup held at Jetty Park on Matagorda Beach and County Park at Sargent Beach Saturday, September 21.
Held simultaneously on beaches across the Gulf Coast, volunteers started at 8:30 a.m. gearing up with data cards, pencils, gloves and trash bags to comb the beach for the debris and garbage collection.
Although the Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach Cleanups are still held rain or shine and weather conditions held up beautifully for the event.
“We had 216 volunteers, cleaned 5 miles of beach and picked up approximately 15,000 pounds of trash,” said Peggy Stanley.
An organizer for the Matagorda Beach clean-up event for many years, Stanley has continued to be of service to her community by heading up the event each year, leading the volunteers in cleaning up the beach for the enjoyment of generations to come.
“The most unusual item we found were two empty boxes from a funeral home that had contained cremated remains!” said Stanley.
“Of the larger groups that volunteer each year, LyondellBasell and Tenaris continue to participate in the clean-up in addition to some Girl Scouts from the Woodlands and Boy Scouts from Pearland.”
“Other local groups that participated included the Matagorda Lions Club, Lady Lions Club and the Matagorda Chamber.”
Lunch was sponsored by the Lower Colorado River Authority - LCRA with Stanley Food Market sponsoring the drinks and ice for volunteers.
The Matagorda County Volunteer Fire Department and EMS were on site and dumpsters were generously provided by Matagorda County Precinct 2 Commissioner Kent Pollard.
“It was a beautiful day and I am so thankful for everyone who participated,” said Stanley.
As in previous years, students from the Wharton County Junior College Human Services program participated in the cleanup.
The Wharton County Junior College Human Services Club participates in several events in and around Wharton and Matagorda Counties throughout the year as part of their community service commitment.
“The Matagorda beach clean-up effort is an excellent indicator of a strong sense of community and commitment,” said Victoria Schultz, WCJC Director of Human Services.
“There is a diverse, multi-generational population participating which demonstrates the transition of values and priorities to our youth.”
“We embrace the volunteer effort to transmit the sense of hope for our future, our environment and our sea life,” said Schultz.
Each year tons of trash and debris is collected off of Texas beaches along the Gulf Coast.
The Adopt-A-Beach program began in the fall of 1986, when 2,800 volunteers picked up 124 tons of trash. Since then, more than 533,000 volunteers have removed more than 9,600 tons of trash from Texas beaches.
The Texas Adopt-A-Beach program, an all-volunteer effort, is dedicated to preserving and protecting Texas beaches. The program’s success is due to the generous efforts of dedicated volunteer county coordinators, coastal community leaders, sponsors and citizens. Strong support from the private sector helps carry our message to Texans all across the state.
Sargent Beach had 141 volunteers show up to help clean up with Wharton County Precinct 2 Constable John Samanski’s office represented by Deputies Mike Moreno and Ryan Moreno.
“It’s always a pleasure to participate in the spring and fall beach clean-ups,” said Precinct 6 Constable Bill Orton.
“Having the Polaris and trailer makes it easier to transport some of the larger and heavier items to the dumpster.”
“We, at the Constable’s Office, enjoy doing our part to help keep our beaches clean,” said Orton.
“Once I took office, my department started handing out garbage bags to citizens visiting our beach. I can honestly say it has helped due to the number of bags left at trash cans at the end of each day.”
“We are looking forward to the spring clean-up and hoping for good weather,” said Orton.
Due to tide patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, trash dumped anywhere in the gulf is likely to end up on a Texas beach. Volunteers record information such as the source and type of debris collected on data cards. This data has been instrumental in the passage of international treaties and laws aimed at reducing the amount of offshore dumping.
Keeping Texas beaches clean and safe is an economic as well as environmental priority. Coastal tourism, a $7 billion industry, and commercial fishing, a $1.9 billion business, demand clean beaches and a healthy gulf to thrive.
The program strives to raise public awareness, educate citizens about the source of debris and generate public support for state, national and international action to clean up coastal waters.