Last week, Gulfport residents and visitors noticed a little extra “flair” on the downtown streets – varying lengths of green plastic strips less than an inch wide. Dozens littered the ground underneath light poles, and accumulated on sidewalks and down by the water. The mystery didn’t take long to solve.
Each year, the city adds holiday garland and light displays in downtown Gulfport from November until the beginning of January. The City of Gulfport contracts Clark Sales Display Company to provide the decoration.
During the removal of these garlands early last week, the green plastic separated from the light fixtures and littered the area, according to Justin Shea, cultural facilities events supervisor for the city.
“We’re exploring the ideas of what to do to eliminate the plastic,” Shea said. “Do we wrap the poles in a ribbon type material? So if there are particles that fall off, it doesn’t get into the environment?”
Parks and Facilities Superintendent Tim Connor alerted Shea that two city workers spent three hours cleaning up the plastic bits late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
Shea told the Gabber he reached out to Clark Sales twice to inform them that their crew left harmful plastic remnants in the streets – plastic that is very likely to end up in the bay. The city intends to find a solution for the unwelcome holiday “gifts.”
“It’s very important that the city stays conscientious about protecting the environment,” Shea said.