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South Florida beaches are open, garbage is back

Two Hollywood residents pick up tons of trash every morning, weekends are worse, they say

HOLLYWOOD BEACH, Fla. – The beaches in Broward County have been reopen more than two weeks and while residents are thrilled to be able to enjoy the sun and sand, they are leaving things behind.

Trash is now back on the beach, too.

Anja Glassner and Tom Andrews, both of Hollywood, go out at the crack of dawn to pick up trash along Hollywood Beach.

"Every day, it has gotten progressively work," Glassner said.

The two volunteers pick up the beach trash every morning four days a week.

"The first day, when the beach opened, we found dirty baby diapers, a ton of sand toys. We filled a bag and a half just with sand toys."

Spending an hour with Glassner and Andrews on Thursday morning, we picked up picked up bottle gaps, coronavirus PPE, such as masks and gloves, cups, Band-Aids, a whole gamut of plastic items littering the beach.

Broward County beaches opened two weeks ago. Beachgoers are back, but so is trash.
Broward County beaches opened two weeks ago. Beachgoers are back, but so is trash. (WPLG)

"It's a little disappointing," Andrews said. "The disrespect people have for not only the beach but the community."

You can't even blame the garbage on tourists since it is primarily locals coming to the beach.

“We know it’s the locals. It’s us that make this problem,” Glassner said.

They are dismayed to find littered items that are known to badly injure Florida wildlife. “I just picked a straw up and there’s a turtle nest behind us,” Glassner pointed out.

We saw more plastic debris inside a sea turtle nesting ground. “If people could just pick up after themselves,” Glassner said as she show us pieces of plastic. “You see those things?” Glassner said. Those things they eat, the turtles and dolphins, it looks like a jellyfish, but it’s plasic."

There are items disposed of that you’d be terrified to imagine a child or family member stepping on. Glassner holds up an empty syringe.

The two said the weekends are worse, although on a typical weekday morning, they end up with about a dozen grocery bags worth of trash.

The community’s wildlife deserve better, they said. “You wouldn’t have a big party in your backyard and not clean up, but that seems to be the thinking — that this is just their own private playground,” Andrews said.

The behavior is confusing because no matter where you walk on Hollywood Beach, you are always within 10 steps of a trash can. There is also signage all over the beach reminding people of a $500 fine for littering.

RELATED: Florida Litter Laws


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