Okaloosa County, Fla., Sept. xx, 2022—Saltwater Restaurants and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism is hosting the International Coastal Cleanup Sept. 17 from 8-10 a.m.
For more than 35 years, Ocean Conservancy has held the International Coastal Cleanup®, a global event that prides itself in, “harnessing the power of people to fight ocean trash.”
The goal of the cleanup is to remove as much trash and debris from local beaches at multiple locations where volunteers of all ages can participate.
Locally, those wishing to participate can join cleanup locations by registering. Available locations include:
- The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
- The Crab Trap/James Lee Park, 3500 Scenic HWY 98, Destin
- The Surf Hut, 551 Scenic Gulf Dr., Miramar Beach
- Norriego Point, 1 Gulf Shore Dr., Destin
- Mattie Kelly Park & Joe’s Bayou, 825 Beach Dr., Destin
- Henderson Beach State Park, 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin
Participants will receive an event T-shirt—limited quantities, so first come, first served. A post-cleanup breakfast will be available free of charge at The Boardwalk, Crab Trap and Surf Hut locations.
Volunteers are asked to bring their own bucket, mesh bag, gloves and grabbers to collect trash.
“When we come together as a community, we help keep our beaches pristine and allow for native wildlife to thrive,” said Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Chairman Mel Ponder. “We are fortunate to have a coastal resource division in our tourist development department dedicated to this cause.”
In its fifth year, volunteers have removed more than 2,000 pounds of garbage and more than 1,000 cigarette butts during the most recent event.
Marine debris endangers the local ecosystem and causes problems for seabirds and coastal marine life.
“Beach cleanups not only keep our beaches beautiful for visitors, but they create a safe environment for our wildlife,” said Jessica Valek, Coastal Resource Coordinator, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism. “Certain animals, like sea turtles and shorebirds, rely on our beaches to lay their eggs and protect their young. The International Coastal Cleanup® is a great way to bring the community together and do good for the environment.”
After the cleanup, the conservation fun continues with the Choctawhatchee Bay Family FUN-FEST held at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Hosted by the Choctawhatchee Estuary Program, the event celebrates National Estuaries Week with food vendors, activities for kids, local vendors and door prizes.
April Sarver, Okaloosa County public information officer