GALVESTON, Texas — Since Texas started reopening, people have been flocking to Galveston, and every weekend, images show beaches packed with visitors.
However, several residents say the beaches are being left trashed when those visitors leave.
“There was just trash everywhere, like diapers and food,” said Brooke Bridges, a Galveston resident of six years.
She said she walks the beach often in the morning with her two young children and has been horrified of what she’s found left behind.
A video she took shows that the garbage and junk left behind goes from nuisance to health hazard.
“There was a syringe. And I was like, 'Oh my gosh, are you serious?'" she said.
Bridges said she found three additional syringes in the same area.
“I broke down and cried," she said.
Other pictures of trashed beaches have been shared by countless people on social media. Many, like Bridges, said they’ve never seen the area being treated with such disregard.
Bridges attributes the bad beach behavior to the pandemic which had left Texans social distancing at home.
Now that things are reopen, Bridges said every weekend is like “spring break, Mardi Gras, Biker Rally… everything in one.”
Mary Beth Bassett, head of public relations with Galveston’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, said officials have been working hard to keep the beaches clean.
“There are trash cans spread out every few feet,” said Bassett. “Our postal zone managers, our beach-cleaning teams, I mean, they’re up at 4 a.m. cleaning."
This past Memorial Day weekend, Bassett said 156,000 pounds of trash was collected both in the bins and loose on the beaches. Last year, that number was 100,000 pounds.
She said crews are working around the clock to keep up with the crowds but there needs to be some individual responsibility too. Bassett suggests that if there’s no room in the trash bins, visitors should take their garbage with them and dispose of it somewhere else. Anyone caught littering could face a $500 fine.
Bridges asks that for everyone’s sake, visitors should be considerate of their home.
“Enjoy the beach but if we were to visit your place we wouldn’t leave it trashed," she said. "So pick up your trash is all we beg for.”
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