AUSTIN — More volunteers picked up less trash at the 25th Annual Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach Fall Cleanup Saturday, prompting speculation that - after 25 years - Texans are starting to get the message.
"Despite an amazing turnout, we picked up 20-percent less trash than last fall," said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. "From Sabine Pass to Boca Chica, there was just less trash to be picked up. I think people get it: Trashing Texas Beaches isn't Cool."
A total of 9,133 volunteers picked up 136 tons of trash from 28 sites along 180 miles of the Texas coast Saturday.
Volunteers this year even reported finding fewer unusual items. Aside from a jock strap on South Padre Island, some Vietnamese toothpaste on Galveston Island, a pornographic video tape at Surfside and some Costa Rican coins in Calhoun County, volunteers mostly picked up a pedestrian mixture of cigarette butts and beer cans and other common items left by careless beachgoers.
The success of the Adopt-A-Beach program is due to the hard work and support of thousands of volunteers, including local coordinators who work many unpaid hours publicizing the cleanups in coastal communities. Since the beginning, 25 years ago, Shell Oil Company has supported the effort.
Since 1986, more than 422,000 Adopt-A-Beach volunteers have picked up more than 8,100 tons of trash from Texas beaches, some of it originating from as far away as Asia. Volunteers record data on the trash to learn more about the causes of marine debris and to help mitigate pollution along Texas' 367 miles of coastline.
The next coastwide cleanup will be the Spring Adopt-A-Beach effort scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012.
To learn more about items collected at the cleanup, and for information on the health of the Texas coast, visit the Adopt-A-Beach program Web site at www.texasadoptabeach.org, or contact the Texas General Land Office at 1-877-TXCOAST (1-877-892-6278). Keep up with all Adopt-A-Beach activities by joining us on Facebook, just search "Texas Adopt-A-Beach" to find our page on Facebook and click "like."