Don Hinton enjoys walking down the dock in his Polk Village backyard and admiring the view across Albergotti Creek to the Intracoastal Waterway.
But when he looks down, trash and debris floating in the water and stuck in the mud detract from the scene.
"We live in our backyards," he said of other neighbors who border a tributary of the creek. "But then there's all this."
Hinton has tried to clean up his section a few times, first using boards to keep from sinking into the pluff mud and then in his kayak. Now, he wants help cleaning up the current mess and preventing it from happening again.
Beaufort Kayak Tours co-owner Kim Gundler and DragonBoat Beaufort president Clare Taylor said their organizations are willing to help. Gundler's group helps with similar projects up and down county waterways.
"We see this a lot in Beaufort County," she said. "It's just an area that has never been touched, so it's an accumulation of years of stuff."
Taylor said she knows several people who will help with "anything we can do to keep everything clean and pristine," she said.
Getting rid of debris is only part of the issue, however. Hinton believes the problem persists because trash washes down the stormwater system and into the creek, especially on Centerville Street.
"(People) throw stuff in there, and I don't know if they think it disappears or what," Hinton said.
On Friday, bottles, cans, cups and other trash littered a gutter at the intersection of 4th Street and Centerview Drive just more than a block from the marsh. Grates or more frequent cleanup could reduce the litter, he said.
That's not enough, Gundler said, because debris still will get in the water from boaters and other sources. During a recent cleanup by foot and kayak along U.S. 21, her group collected 600 to 700 pounds of trash and abandoned junk, such as mattresses and tires.
She worries some people could be pouring used car oil and other substances down the stormwater drains, too. Signs could be added warning people of the dangers of littering, similar to ones in downtown Beaufort, she said.
"The storm drain goes into the marsh," she said. "A lot of people think it goes to the sewage treatment plant, but it doesn't. It's a big tube to the marsh."