On Saturday, February 4, 2017, 398 volunteers participated in the annual Francis Marion National Forest Cleanup hosted by the USDA Forest Service and PalmettoPride, picking up 15.38 tons of trash from areas within the Forest including parts of the Palmetto Trail and several waterways. Approximately 50 tires, a trailer full of discarded shingles, a freezer and a boat with a small tree growing inside the boat were brought in along with three (3) roll-off containers of trash bags.
PalmettoPride has tracked the volunteers and amounts picked up since the first cleanup in 2006. Comparing pounds picked up to volunteers shows that overall littering and illegal dumping have decreased over time. This year’s average pounds of trash picked up per person was 77, compared to 2016’s average of 120 pounds per person.
“It is encouraging to see that on-going cleanup efforts can make a difference,” said Sarah Lyles, Executive Director of PalmettoPride. “The volunteers and counties that have dedicated themselves to the planning and participation of this annual event get all the credit for changing the state of litter in the Forest.”
What is visible on the roadside is mainly empty alcoholic beverage containers and food wrappers. Another issue is trash from unsecured loads on the way to the convenience center.
PalmettoPride praises Berkeley and Charleston Counties for their help in making this annual event a success. This year also welcomed the Palmetto Conservation Foundation as a special guest host.
The annual forest cleanup has focused on different areas of the Francis Marion National Forest covering Charleston and Berkeley Counties. For this year’s cleanup, the USDA Forest Service staff identified five areas for volunteers to tackle. Volunteers from Awendaw also cleaned up several local roads that were heavily littered, including Seewee Road that leads to a convenience center.
For more information on litter in South Carolina or the results of this cleanup, please contact Sarah Lyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-758-6034.