MLK Day of Service: Marsh Cleanup

By Hannah Veazey | Contributor

On Monday, Jan. 18, a group of College of Coastal Georgia volunteers toiled in the chilly temperatures to improve the community and the environment. With assistance from Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, CCGA Serves coordinated a MLK Day of Service marsh cleanup off of Homer Wilson Way in Brunswick. 

The relatively remote location just west of the Brunswick Marina is a common spot for illegal dumping and tidal trash. When the crew of 14 arrived in the morning, they did not really know what to expect. After a quick survey, it was clear there was an outrageous amount of trash of all types. 

 The cleanup crew for the Day of Service Marsh Cleanup on Monday, January 18th, 2016.

The cleanup crew for the Day of Service Marsh Cleanup on Monday, January 18th, 2016.

“There was an enormous amount of trash along the road and the edge of the marsh,” admitted volunteer Jessica Palmer. “I didn’t expect there to be that much and I was really surprised with the type of trash we found.” 

The trash the group uncovered ranged from tires to televisions, and diapers to lighters. The haul also included a lot of material discarded from home renovations including a sections of fence, bathroom tiles and shingles. Other smaller items found included needles and beer cans and bottles as well as a wide range of Styrofoam.  

At the end of the 3-hour service project, the volunteers compiled out with 46 bags of trash and debris totaling an estimated 1,500 pounds. The material was collected on a quarter-mile stretch of the mile-long road and extended about 30 yards into the brush on either side. 

“As a group, we were excited about how much we did clean the area up in a relatively short amount of time how much better it looked when we were done,” Palmer said. 

Questions still remain about how the city and community organizations can fight illegal dumping in fragile ecosystems nearby densely populated urban areas. 

“Some of the trash we collected was already in bags,” said volunteer Jonathan Erickson. “Why don’t residence have a convenient and well known place to dump their trash? Or, if they already do, why would they choose not to use it?”