South Seas takes part in annual cleanup
South Seas Island Resort employees, along with some immediate family members and friends, volunteered their time over a recent weekend to help remove litter from the property’s beaches.
On Oct. 13, over a dozen people took part in the annual International Coastal Cleanup event that focused on the shoreline from South Beach on north to Redfish Pass. Hosted in coordination with Keep Lee County Beautiful, the event has taken place for at least a decade but is not open to the public.
Resort Harbourmaster Charles Martz, organizer of the South Seas event for the last few years, explained that employees and their loved ones are invited to participate to help do their part.
“For the International Coastal Cleanup, they want to clean the beaches as best they can,” he said.
With more than two miles of beach lining the resort, the volunteers break up into two crews – one working from South Beach up to Sunset Beach, the other working from Redfish Pass down to Sunset. The group works from 8 to 11 a.m., unlike the typical 9 a.m. to noon timeframe for other clean ups.
“We start a little earlier so it’s a little cooler,” Martz said, noting that youth take part.
This year, there were 14 volunteers, with the youngest being about 5 years old.
“It was about the same as last year,” he said of the participation.
Like any of the public events, Keep Lee County Beautiful provides the supplies for the cleanup, like gloves and garbage bags, along with water, T-shirts and snacks. It also provides the data forms.
“So we can keep track of what we pick up,” Martz said.
He estimated that the group collected about the same amount of garbage as last year.
“I think, this year, we got close to 14 bags,” he said.
“One of the things you pick up on the beach is typically smaller items,” Martz added.
Some of the common ones this year were plastic bottles, cans and bottle caps.
“Cigarette buttes are very popular,” he said. “Straws are always there.”
With Hurricane Michael recently rolling through the Gulf of Mexico, the South Seas volunteers collected a few more crab traps than they normally do – from one, to three or four this year.
“The crab traps were kind of an anomaly,” Martz said.
As is normal, they also picked up pieces of Styrofoam from degraded balls on the traps.
He expressed appreciation for those who volunteered their time on their day off.
“It’s kind of the culture of South Souths – to take care of your employees, to take care of your environment,” Martz said. “It’s also good stewardship for the environment.”
For him, the effort provides a clean environment to enjoy the water.
“We all fish, we all boat, we’re all on the water,” Martz said.
Officially held on Sept. 15, this year’s International Coastal Cleanup involved volunteers from states and territories, plus over 100 countries, participating in coastal cleanup events, according to the Ocean Conservancy. The litter was collected and documented, and the data passed along to the conservancy.
Due to the red tide at the time, however, the Lee County cleanups had to be postponed.
South Seas Island Resort is at 5400 Plantation Road.