In celebration of World Oceans Day 2021, scuba divers, boaters and beach lovers are invited to collect trash and win cash at local beaches. There will be prizes for things like “most cigarette butts” and “most face masks” collected among the trash.
The Water Warrior Alliance organized the St. Pete Ocean Sweep Trash Collection Tournament, which will be held June 5-6. Participants could win more than $10,000 in cash prizes. In addition to cleaning up the shoreline, organizers hope people take away a lesson in reducing their personal use of disposable items.
“We hope to pull out 5,000 pounds of debris,” said Jenna Byrne, president of the Water Warrior Alliance. “We want to get the local community involved in current clean-up efforts.”
Clean-up and debris weigh-in locations have been narrowed down to four areas that are known for lots of debris in St. Petersburg: the Fourth Street fishing pier, Gandy Beach, Maximo Park and the U.S. Coast Guard Blackthorn Memorial.
Collection is broken down into two categories, “water born” and “shore side” items. Water-born items include rope and tackle, anchors and bottles and containers. Shore-side items include cigarette butts, face masks and bottles and containers.
“Face masks are new this year because of COVID. You find them all over the shoreline,” Byrne said.
Prizes will be awarded for most trash collected, most cigarette butts, most face masks, most bottles and containers, most rope and tackle, and most anchors. Weigh-in will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5-6 at all four collection sites.
An environmental awareness celebration takes place from 3 to 9 p.m. June 4 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 5-6 at the event’s headquarters: the St. Pete Pier (800 Second Ave. NE) and Spa Beach (600 Second Ave. NE) in St. Petersburg. Each day has a socially distanced party with live music from 3 to 6 p.m.
“We hope people take away the way they can reduce their personal use of single use plastics,” Byrne said.
To register for the tournament, go to waterwarrioralliance.org. Registration is $30, $15 juniors. Recreational collection without tournament participation is free. For more information, call 727-303-9987.