Clean-up Volunteers Take to the Streets, Bayous

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Tampa Bay Watch volunteers Pete Sayles and Diane Kranz, from left, both from St. Petersburg, deposit their first load of trash in their car parked along the Pinellas Bayway in Tierra Verde and get fresh bags Saturday, July 9 during Tampa Bay Watch’s annual coastal clean-up. In their first 30 minutes on the job, they estimated they had picked up around 50 pounds. They were among more than 200 volunteers who turned out at seven sites throughout the bay for Tampa Bay Watch’s annual mid-summer clean-up, scheduled right after the 4th of July holiday. “It’s a sad situation,” Sayles said about the amount of trash people dump in the environment. In particular, he said, “we’re looking for plastic bags because a lot of turtles tend to eat them thinking they’re jellyfish. And plastic rings that connect bottles because birds have a tendency to get their neck stuck in those. And cigarette butts – they don’t biodegrade; it takes about 10,000 years.” Along with those they also found plenty of fishing line, Styrofoam, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and paper, they said. Tampa Bay Watch spokeswoman Rachel Arndt said Tuesday that with five of the seven sites reporting, 211 volunteers had collected 179 bags of trash weighing about 2,685 pounds.

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