ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. — It’s Clean Beaches Week July 1 through 7. Independence Day is listed as one of the worst holidays for litter on the beach according to multiple cleanup organizations.
The day after, July 5, is known as the dirtiest day on the beach because of that.
"Treat this like it’s your backyard," Anne Marie Moquin said.
For Moquin, it is her backyard. Her family and neighbors are spending the holiday on the beach.
She says it doesn’t have to be a holiday with swarms of crowds for her to find trash littering the first coast.
“Oh my gosh every single day. It’s every single day," Moquin said. "If you walk the wash line or the high tide line you know where the water washes up, that is where you will see a lot of cigarette butts and a lot of small pieces of plastic.”
She says the beach is inundated with plastic.
There are trash cans at nearly every beach exit, yet we found trash right next to it or even just a few feet away. The most common type of trash? Cigarette butts, according to The Ocean Conservancy’s 2018 International Coastal Cleanup Report.
"The buds have cellulose acetate which is a type of plastic. While they are breaking down, which can take up to five years, they leach toxic chemicals into the water and the soil," Moquin warned.
She is taking action as the founder and executive director of Beaches Go Green. She says cleaning our beaches starts with:
- Not littering and picking up the trash you see
- Use reef safe sunscreen
- Use reusable bottles and bags
The animals you could be saving aren’t far away creatures. Many call the first coast home.