N.C. Big Sweep is seeking volunteers to assist with its trash pickup event Saturday, Oct. 4. The annual statewide cleanup usually has more than 16,000 volunteers, but Big Sweep wants even more volunteers to make a greater impact on improving the environment.
“Litter hurts everyone,” said Rita Williams, N.C. Big Sweep chairman. “It affects our economy, our health and our wildlife.”
Litter can affect local economies when it causes tourists to avoid areas where debris is an issue, resulting in a loss of tourism revenue. It’s deadly to wildlife that eat or become entangled in litter, and once entangled, wildlife often attract other wildlife to the same hazard. Every year, Big Sweep volunteers find entangled animals, and last year was no exception. Of the 17 entangled animals found in 2011, only six were released alive.
“My two kids are never happier than when they are on or in the ocean and waters of Coastal North Carolina,” said Shawn Carroll, Environmental Protection Manager for Waste Management and N.C. Big Sweep board member. “Whether we are fishing, sailing, water skiing or enjoying a day at the beach, litter prevention is already ingrained in their outdoor ethic. Big Sweep is a great mechanism to protect the beautiful waters of our state, and our entire family will be participating this year.”
Last year, Big Sweep volunteers retrieved everything from plastic bags and cigarette filters to bowling balls and wheelchairs. All told, volunteers retrieved the equivalent of almost 1,000 football fields five feet deep in litter.
Volunteers choose their cleanup site and trash bags and data cards will be provided.
The official statewide date for the 2012 Big Sweep is Oct. 4, but local cleanups can be scheduled on other days as well.
To get involved, volunteers can visit ncbigsweep.org.