With cooler temperatures, a light breeze and the sun shining—Saturday was the perfect day for beachgoers to stroll along the shore of South Padre Island. In addition to enjoying the fine weather, several visitors chose to lend a hand by cleaning up trash and litter along the beach.
Here and there, volunteers combed the dunes from 9-11 a.m. near Beach Access #1 with grabbers and net bags to keep beaches on the island pristine and safe for the public to enjoy.
SPI Beach Clean Up, alongside partner RGV Fishing Area And Waterway Cleanups, organized the event as one of many they hold throughout the year to keep the area enjoyable for residents and visitors alike, both on land and sea. AJ’s Beach Services, Captain Murphy, NextHome on the Coast and Bay Equity Home Loans sponsored the cleanup.
SPI Beach Clean Up chose Beach Access #1 and the surrounding area for cleanup due to the types of trash often found there, which benefits from a more-through combing over to remove.
“Here, you find small items like beach toys, cigarette butts and other small trash that need picking up. The city does a great job picking things up, but it is hard to see all the small trash that sea turtles and other animals can get into if it goes back into the sea,” said Nelda Vega of SPI Beach Clean Up.
Walking along the beach, longtime volunteer Theresa De Salvo says she enjoys the cleanup events because they give her a chance to enjoy the beach while helping her community.
“You get exercise, and you get to give back. You can’t do anything better than that,” De Salvo said of the experience.
In addition to fulfilling their mission, this cleanup also serves as a tribute to a supporter—Sandra Tarpey. Tarpey, a longtime community activist and surfer, died in December 2022.
Vega says that without Tarpey’s support and encouragement when the group started nearly five years ago, who knows what might have happened?
“She was this amazing, beautiful woman who was always taking care of others,” Vega said.
SPI Beach Clean Up will assist RGV Fishing Area And Waterway Cleanups with their cleanup on Jan. 28 starting at 9 a.m., covering Boca Chica Beach and the mouth of the Rio Grande. The organization will also hold another cleanup at the End of the Road on Feb. 18. For more information, visit their Facebook page at SPI Beach Clean Up.
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