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Beach cleanup crews having to downsize in order to follow CDC guidelines

Keep Martin Beautiful encourages groups to stay under 10 people
Posted at 12:23 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 13:53:59-04

JENSEN BEACH, Fla.  — Volunteers with Keep Martin Beautiful are having to dissect into smaller groups to clean beaches due to coronavirus guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control.

Tiffany Smith, Outreach Director for Keep Martin Beautiful, said instead of having one large group tackle the trash on the beach, groups are having to downsize and clean up over several different sessions rather than one big one.

She said due to COVID-19, volunteer numbers are also down.

"We usually get about 1,000 to 1,500 but we're very proud of the 600 dedicated volunteers that have come out," said Smith.

Thursday's cleanup was part of International Coastal Cleanup, a now weeklong event rather than just one day.

"It's something you can't believe, that people would leave trash behind," said Rachel Delekta, volunteer. "On Monday I saw a suitcase. It was totally buried in the sand."

Delekta said she takes her yellow trash bin around her neighborhood and to the beach almost daily.

"It depends, I mean if there’s a lot of trash I don’t have to walk very far," said Delekta. "Sometimes I get my 10,000 steps in for the day and clean up. And sometimes I get my cleanup in the parking lot."

She's hoping that the girl scout group that helped with Thursday's cleanup will follow in her footsteps.

"If people would take one day a year and do a cleanup like Keep Martin beautiful is doing now, they will see that there’s more trash than you realize right under your feet," said Delekta.

Smith said Keep Martin Beautiful is always looking for volunteers and that anyone interested in helping out should visit their website.