St. Johns/Flagler County, FL – The United States ranks second in participation when it comes to the annual International Coastal Cleanup each September, helping as part of a global effort to remove more than 20 million pounds of trash and debris from the oceans and waterways in 2019.
As part of an effort to make a cleaner Earth an everyday activity, the Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway, Inc. are launching the first pilot location along the nationally designated All-American Road for the “Pack It In, Pack It Out – Be An A1A Scenic Byway Star” campaign. The organization was awarded a grant to help with the efforts by the Delores Barr Weaver Grassroots Grants Endowment at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida on April 23rd.
Aiming to reduce trash and debris along the scenic byway’s waterways and shorelines, trash cans are being removed on June 1st from the River to Sea Preserve, to encourage visitors to take their trash with them rather than leaving it on the beach or boardwalk.
Spearheading the campaign, Friends of A1A Vice President Adam Morley has long been an advocate for the reduction of single use plastics and anticipates a change in habits will result in a change in the amount of litter found along the byway.
“The great thing about this program is that it’s nothing new,” said Morley. “It’s been successfully implemented elsewhere in local, state and federal parks. We just need the public to know and understand what’s happening, so they can plan and prepare.”
Flagler Beach has already begun implementing the changes, inspired by Morley’s local advocacy, in their community to great success according to Flagler Beach City Commissioner Eric Cooley.
“There were numerous issues with cans being directly on the beach,” said Cooley. “First they couldn’t hold enough trash and as a symptom, would end up having large piles of trash on the sand from overflow or misses. They were not covered and trash tended to blow out of them.”
“We ideally want folks to remove everything from the beach that they bring onto it,” he said. “So far it has been a huge success and trash on the beach has been greatly reduced. We are hoping that once the learning process is complete and combined with the new littering ordinance we are rolling out shortly, this will put a stop to any trash on our beautiful beach.”
A corresponding educational campaign will be launched throughout the A1A Scenic Byway communities by the Friends of A1A and supporting stakeholders to help the public better understand the benefits of the Pack It In, Pack It Out project.
For more information, visit www.scenica1a.org.