Volunteers gather to clear Wando River, Daniel Island shoreline in clean sweep

Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 7:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2023 at 7:41 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Dozens gathered at the Daniel Island Waterfront Park on Saturday to give a helping hand in protecting South Carolina’s waterways.

Families, groups and people from all ages and backgrounds spent the afternoon wading through tall grass, marsh and shoreline to collect trash and waste along the Wando River.

“I have so many this year, couldn’t even count. So, I think we have a record,” Daniel Island Site Captain Andrea Kelly says.

Kelly says she was inspired to become a leader in the effort after a decade of implementing clean-up efforts within her own family.

“Little over 10 years ago, my children and I were walking our dog by the little beach. We always had a good time splashing and playing but we didn’t like how much trash we saw,” Kelly says.

She says she spent that time picking up everything she saw while on her walks.

She eventually brought the tradition back into the community.

“We owe it to the creatures who rely on this ecosystem to protect it for them,” Kelly says. “They didn’t make this mess, we did.”

Those who showed up say they found an array of items.

“Number one, single-use plastic bottles. Number two, cans, number three Styrofoam. I also found a pair of socks, t-shirt, shoes, a boat’s buoy, a frisbee, another game piece I can’t identify. Cans, bottles, if you name it we probably got it,” Volunteers Arthur and Jennifer Pingolt says.

Organizers add the most common items found are those in our everyday lives, a problem this event works to fix.

“Definitely plastic water bottles, and Styrofoam. Styrofoam cups, food containers, plastic food containers,” Kelly says.

Several school groups and students in attendance say they wanted the opportunity to give back to the spaces they love.

“I come here often; I live around here. I really like to see everything cleaned up, no animals or anything in danger,” Volunteer Max Rosenthal says.

Kelly says seeing the diverse groups of volunteers is a rewarding part of the experience.

“At a very young age, if you don’t take care of what you love, it won’t be there in the future. To see so many of all ages come out to help was just fantastic.”

If you are interested in giving back but were not able to volunteer at this clean-up, there are still opportunities to do so.

“Take a bag with you to the beach when you go for a walk, or when you go for a walk with your dogs, just grab a bag and pick It up, throw it where it belongs,” Kelly said.

You can also click here for more information on environmental and conservation efforts within the state.