Positively Jax: Volunteers rake in the trash at beaches clean-ups

News4Jax teamed up with Beaches Go Green to host clean up events at 3 locations

News4Jax reporter Zachery Lashway says among the hundreds of pounds of trash collected were thousands of cigarette butts. Great work, Jacksonville!!! (Courtesy of SnapJAX)

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Hundreds of volunteers got in on the icky action Saturday morning and did more than “talk” some trash to help News4Jax and Beaches Go Green give three spots around our area a clean slate.

Volunteers gathered at 9 a.m. to start picking up litter at three sites throughout our community.

“We think it is so great. We think it is important to give back, especially when everybody around here is pretty local and following the wintertime it is always such a mess, so we think it is pretty awesome,” said volunteer Blakely Rowe.

News4JAX teamed up with Beaches Go Green to pick up litter at three areas throughout our community. Reporter Joe McLean took part in the cleanup at Jacksonville Beach

Nease High student Allie Leonard said it was surprising they found as much trash as they did since it’s the off season and the beaches aren’t filled with tourists.

“We found quite a bit,” she said.

Here’s a breakdown at one was found in Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach:

By county, Duval County had 778 volunteers, and 20,809 cigarette butts, 35 bags of trash and 10 bags of recycling were collected and cleaned up. In St. Johns County, there were 300 volunteers, and 1,350 cigarette butts and 25 bags of trash were collected.

Some of what the volunteers found was surprising, too. The group at the Mickler Beach Access Point in Ponte Vedra Beach hauled in a car bumper! Check it out in the photo gallery below.

And another interesting find among the hundreds of pounds of litter, plastic and cigarette butts.... a set of false teeth!

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A set of false teeth was among the litter found during Saturday's beaches clean up events.

In addition to Mickler’s, groups met at the Atlantic Boulevard Beach Access in Atlantic Beach and at Oceanfront Park in Jacksonville Beach

Despite the chilly morning volunteers rolled up their sleeves (so to speak) and pitched in. Some even earned prizes for various milestones (like most cigarette butts collected).

“We’re making a difference together and having fun and it’s simple,” said volunteer Samantha Ryan with Sisters of the Sea.

While the clean up was fun for those involved, Beaches Go Green founder Anne Marie Moquin pointed out that the need to keep things clean is very serious.

“A lot of the litter in this area ends up washing and blowing into sensitive marine environments like the ocean and waterways, so it is super important to keep our town center, parking lots and sidewalks clean as much as it is the beach,” Moquin said.

If you were out at one of the events, don’t forget to share your cleanup pictures via SnapJAX.

Positively Jax movement

Like last month’s food drive, this cleanup is part of our Positively Jax campaign, an ongoing effort to make Jacksonville a better place to live through random acts of kindness and other good deeds.

SIGN UP: Join the Positively Jax movement | SHARE: Upload your Positively Jax photos

Chances are you already know that Positively Jax highlights inspiring stories we love to bring you each month about the people who go the extra mile to help others in need. But this year, we’re taking things up a notch.

Our goal is to perform and share 1,000 good deeds (or Random Jax of Kindness, as we’re fond of calling them) in 2021. But it’s not something we can do by ourselves — we need your help to make it happen.

So whether you came to the cleanup or you’re doing something on your own, we want to hear from you. The hope is that, since kindness is contagious, your actions will inspire others to pay it forward.

Sign up and join the Positively Jax movement on PositivelyJax.com.

There you can share your good deeds, learn more about what News4JAX and others are doing to help the community and also receive updates about upcoming opportunities to make a difference.

About the Authors:

Zachery “Zach” Lashway anchors KPRC 2+ Now. He began at KPRC 2 as a reporter in October 2021.