Beach cleanup looking for volunteers

Volunteers are needed for the 22nd annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep that runs from 9 a.m. until noon Sept. 18.

Each year, thousands participate in South Carolina's largest one-day litter cleanup of beaches, marshes and waterways, said Carlos Chacon of the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island.

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and S.C. Department of Natural Resources organize the statewide event, held in conjunction with the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup.

"This is a great opportunity to teach a lesson to kids about the importance of a clean environment and putting trash where it is supposed to go," said Chacon, organizer of the cleanup at Burkes Beach on Hilton Head.

Last year, more than 4,500 volunteers removed 45.5 tons of debris statewide, according to a news release from the Coastal Discovery Museum. In its 21-year history,

1,056 tons of litter have been collected -- and recycled when possible -- the release said.

Several local organizations will be helping at sites on Hilton Head and Daufuskie islands and in Bluffton and northern Beaufort County. Site captains will have trash bags and gloves for volunteers, Chacon said.

To volunteer, come to one of the designated sites between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Here's who to call for more information: