10 News and Tampa Bay Watch held the 4th annual Coastal Cleanup at Ft. DeSoto Park

5:50 PM, Jul 14, 2012   |    comments
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Ft. DeSoto, Fl. - More than 100 people hit the beach Saturday, to clean it up! Tampa Bay Watch and 10 News held the 4th annual Coastal Cleanup at Ft. DeSoto Park.

The coast is clear thanks to more than 100 volunteers at Ft. DeSoto Park. Thousands of pounds of trash are now off the beaches and where it belongs. But this one day cleanup doesn't have to be a onetime effort.

Tropical Storm Debby and the 4th of July left one big mess at Ft. DeSoto Park.

"It's a lot of work because they're going to find a lot of little trash," says Martha Gruber, an environmental scientist with Tampa Bay Watch.

But Gruber says that little trash causes big problems.

"A lot of our marine life animals injest a lot of plastic, not necessarily big trash, but the small pieces that get broken down that don't break down all the way in our environment."

It gets stuck in the mangroves and in tall grass.

That's where we found Dan Reinfrank and his family volunteering for the first time.

"We camp here quite often so we thought it was our chance to give back."

It's also his chance to teach his children about the environment.

"So they can learn. To know what the right thing is to do to come out and help cleanup and give back to, you know, the place that we live. We want to survive and things to stay nice and pretty and if we leave it all trash, then it won't be good no more," says Reinfrank.

It appears those lessons are sinking in.

"Right now, I just went across the water and got a floatie over there," says 9-year-old Sydney. She says it's fun cleaning up the trash, but would prefer you put your garbage where it belongs.

"Please cleanup county parks and state parks so you'll have a nice park for other people."

To learn more about Tampa Bay Watch and how you can keep our beaches clean, click here: http://www.tampabaywatch.org/

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