Beach litter, and ocean pollution in seas and waterways, has become huge headlines lately.  And for good reason.  It’s a serious problem.

We here in the Lowcountry, we love and take great pride in our beaches.  It’s one of the primary things that drew us here in the first place, and continues to draw folks to Charleston.

The beaches, especially those on the Isle of Palms, also tend to draw a lot of day trippers.  And unfortunately, not everyone cleans up after themselves.   Beach litter is everywhere.

When I travel to other countries and then return home, I am often shocked by how much people in America litter.  It is a chronic problem all across the country.

The Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew tackling beach litter one butt at a time 


Several concerned IOP residents organized a weekly beach litter cleanup during the peak summer season, which I covered in this blog.  It involved folks gathering at Front Beach, picking up litter along the beach for 30 minutes to an hour, then meeting at a local watering hole for special drink and food specials.  It became a fun community event for both locals and kind people visiting the Isle of Palms.  They did a total of eleven sweeps beginning the last Monday in June.

Now that peak season officially ended on Labor Day, they are keeping up the effort.  Instead of a weekly deal, they’ve switched to a monthly basis.  The first monthly sweep will be Monday, October 8th, and each second Monday of the month after that.  October 8th signup with start at 5:30.  November, December and January signups will be at 4:30 each time to account for the earlier sunsets.

The October 8th beach litter sweep will be followed by a gathering and specials at Papi’s Taqueria, a new eating place that’s getting a lot of positive buzz here on the IOP.  It’s a great, hip beach spot.  They’re located at 1012 Ocean Boulevard.  Here’s a link to Papi’s website.


Yikes! Check out the IOP’s official beach litter tally 


Part of the beach sweep/beach litter effort was to try and assess the kind of garbage people are leaving on the beach.  The good folks at the South Carolina Aquarium provided resources to help litter-picker-uppers to keep track of what they collected.  Following are the results.

Plastic straws/stirrers – 833

Other plastics – 9,407

Cigarettes/filters – 8,142

Cigars, lighters, tobacco packaging – 282

Styrofoam – 809

Medical supplies/personal hygiene – 410

Cans, stakes and misc. metal – 388

Fishing gear – 141

Glass – 117

Balloons – 78

Large items like building materials – 49

Other misc. items – 2,445

Total – 23,101 trash items


It included 10,240 plastic items as well as 8,424 items related to smoking.  Many of those were cigarette butts, which often also include small pieces of plastic.

Wow, that’s a whole lot of trash, and that’s just what got officially counted.  I sure am glad it’s no longer on the beach, or in the ocean.

Thank you, Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew!

Here’s a great article from the Island Eye News with the full story.

So when you are visiting the beach, please make use of the garbage cans and recycling bins located at beach access points.  And remember, when you are looking for a great Charleston beach house, to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger