Volunteers spend day cleaning beaches

To support

To help the Adopt-A-Beach effort, visit their website.

MAGNOLIA BEACH - A group of 25 women and girls, from as far away as McAllen, wanted to have a girls' weekend.

So they decided to clean up Magnolia and Indianola beaches on Saturday for the 26th annual Adopt-A-Beach Fall Cleanup - like they have every year since it started.

"My family has been coming to this beach for years," said Jo Ann Saenz, of Sheridan. "But the cleanup is a chance for us to get together for a sisters weekend and bond."

Saenz said everyone should take part in the cleanup to help the environment and to boost community pride.

But, with the 1,150 pounds of trash collected at just that location, Rachel Cummins, Calhoun County extension agent, said many people need to be more aware of the hazards of littering.

She said a few years ago the biggest source of pollution in the ocean came from shipping.

"Now, 60 to 80 percent of our beach trash is coming from the shore," Cummins said. "This is a big public awareness issue."

She explained that even a piece of trash dropped in the street in Victoria could eventually make it to the ocean, because rivers feed into the Gulf.

Saenz said in addition to the adults at the reunion, she also brought her granddaughters so they could learn a lesson about responsibility.

The youngest, Ashtyn Saenz, 4, eagerly raced her sister, Kenyon, 6, to pick up the biggest pieces of trash.

Kenyon, however, was annoyed that so many people threw their trash on the ground.

"I use a trash can," Kenyon said, as she carefully picked up a plastic bottle with her gloved hand.

Cummins said this is her fourth year to coordinate the event at Magnolia Beach, and said they normally get a good response. This year, she said they had 133 volunteers.

"In Texas, the beaches are public. It is our right to go to them, but it is also our responsibility to keep them clean," Cummins said.