Spring Cleaning

April 2016
Written By: 
Harold Rohrback

Grab a trash bag and help clean our waterways during River Sweep 2016

The Intracoastal Waterway is a treasured natural resource with special significance for a variety of reasons. It’s a sanctuary and breeding ground for waterfowl, marsh birds, fish, shrimp and oysters with a beauty and serenity unsurpassed by any manmade creation. So when a local commercial fisherman recognized that trash was accumulating along the banks near Little River and polluting this resource, he decided to act.

Due to the efforts of Captain Patrick Kelly, a.k.a. “Captain Smiley,” the fifth annual Little River River Sweep will be held on April 16 at the Johnny Causey Boat Landing/Harbourgate Marina.

“The sight of the trash was breaking my heart. I knew I had to do something,” said Captain Smiley. In 2010, there were only a handful of boats that participated. In 2014, hundreds of volunteers joined together to scour the shores of the waterway to pick up trash and debris.

If you’d like to join in the effort but don’t have a boat, it’s not a problem. Just jump on one of the many charter boats, use one of the free kayaks made available by local rental companies or get a free ride out to Waites Island aboard the Getaway Adventures. Last year, employees from several waterfront restaurants and companies filled bags with trash from the marsh grass around their buildings and loaded them onto passing boats.

It’s all free, thanks to the help of the Little River Chamber of Commerce and local merchants who supply gloves, trash bags, sodas and food.

This is an event that’s fun for the entire family and a way to teach the importance of good environmental stewardship. As Jennifer Walters of the Chamber of Commerce says, “The waterway is our playground. We need to take care of it.”

The event starts with a blessing of the fleet at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., when some of the collected trash is transformed into a work of art at the boat landing thanks to local artist Jim Swaim.

For more information, check out the Little River South Carolina River Sweep Facebook page or contact Captain Smiley at (843) 361-7445.