Volunteers wipe away waste during Beach Sweep

9 May 2013 | Lance Cpl. Joshua W. Grant

Seventy-two Marines and sailors collected more than 20 pounds of trash during the 8th annual Beach Sweep at Onslow Beach May 3.

Around the world, tons of trash gets dumped in the ocean. Some trash washes ashore Camp Lejeune beaches leaving it to volunteers to clean up as much as possible. The most common litter on beaches are cigarette butts, but there is also a very high amount of plastic products likes bottles, bags and Styrofoam.

“We are trying to keep the beaches clean,” said Dion Lynn, Onslow Beach facilities general manager. “It’s a big beach and we need all the help we can get picking up trash off the dunes and shore area.”

Hosting the event is key to supporting the Marines and sailors aboard base, stated Lynn. Service members and families come out to have a great time, especially after a deployment. The beach is a great place to hang out and relax. The beach sweep helps keep the area clean for everyone and ensures the beach goers don’t have to worry about trash in the water, he added.

An array of wildlife calls the Crystal Coast beaches home. Included are protected sea turtles, many different birds and all manners of sea life. Cleaning the beaches keep the animals living aboard MCB Camp Lejeune’s beaches safe.

Beach goers should self-police, Lynn said. If they see trash they should pick it up and throw it away. If anyone should see an animal in need of assistance, if it is caught in trash or in any other hazardous situation they, should call wildlife management. Beach goers are not to touch the animal, said Lynn.

To find volunteers, event coordinators enlist the help of the Single Marine Program. Some participants found the event through Marine Corps Community Services website.

Melissa Trilll, a Petty Officer Second Class from Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, found out about the beach sweep through the website. She attended the event to help clean the beaches.

“I come out to the beaches during the summer,” said Trilll. “I came to the event to help out and keep the area beautiful for future use.”