Siesta Key volunteers take action after Memorial Day trash fiasco

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, June 19, 2017, 1:07 PM EDT

Siesta Key was recently named the top beach in the country.

  • About 40 tons of trash at beach day after Memorial Day
  • Volunteers will hand out bags for July 4th weekend
  • County to staff its own cleanup workers as well

But more visitors means more trash and residents are jumping into action. Video recorded the day after Memorial Day showed piles of trash littering the landmark beach.

"All of the animals in the ocean, the fish. We can't do that to our economy and our ecosystem,” said Sarasota resident Casey Helms. “We can’t do that.”

About 40 tons of trash was cleaned up by Siesta Key residents and the beach crew.

With July 4 weekend not far off, people here want to make sure it does not happen again.

"I think human nature would want to be to keep something as beautiful as this so beautiful," said beachgoer Claudine Terry. "Even if they get a little too much partying going on, but maybe if they could see a garbage disposal location easily, they'd know to pick up all their stuff."

Siesta Key Beach was recently named No. 1 beach in the U.S.

With the nearest trash cans located 150 yards away from the water, resident Veronica Murphy decided to take action. She assembled a team of volunteers who will be stationed at beach entrances July 4 weekend.

Their goal is to hand out thousands of garbage bags and show people where to dispose of them.

"If (trash) stays there, it could blow into the water and affect the wildlife and we really just want to keep everything clean,” said Murphy, who serves on the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the volunteers, the county will be staffing its own beach cleanup workers until midnight on July 4. That same group will be back at 6 a.m., June 5, in order to avoid a repeat of what happened there Memorial Day weekend.

Volunteers and staff alike hope their proactive efforts will keep Siesta Key Beach — which was honored by Dr. Beach — looking the way it should.

"It's the No. 1 beach in the country,” said beachgoer Jason Terry.