Beach trash: big problem for marine life

Some who celebrated the holiday weekend on Folly Beach took their memories home with them, but left their trash behind.

Not only is that a nuisance, it's a safety concern.

"We watched people just getting up and leaving bags of trash," Elizabeth Wade, of Greenville, said.

Wade celebrated the 4th of July on Folly Beach.

She's spent several years vacationing here, but says the amount of trash on the beach over the holiday weekend was the worst she's ever seen.

"We saw people leaving cups and plates and plastic bottles and diapers," Wade said.

The trash isn't just disgusting, it's dangerous, which is why employees from the South Carolina Aquarium want to make sure it gets cleaned up.

"If you step on a broken bottle and cut your foot, if you're out swimming in the ocean and there's a loose fishing line or crab trap, you could easy get hurt on that," Kate Dittloff, who works at the aquarium, said.

Dittloff and other beach sweepers collected bags full of trash, everything from beer cans to balloons.

"Right here we see a disgusting, discarded bag. That could easy be mistaken for a jellyfish by a marine creature," Dittloff said.

Trash was even thrown right next to a sea turtle nest.

"What will happen if it gets out into the water and people are just leaving it? Who do they think is going to clean it up," Wade asked.

This is the sixth year South Carolina Aquarium employees have had a beach sweep.

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