Volunteers clean up Magnolia Beach
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As Rey Vega enjoyed his first time fishing in Port Lavaca on Saturday, he noted a stark contrast between Magnolia Beach and other places he has fished.
"I used to go fishing near Galveston and Corpus, but the beaches there were dirty and no one cleans them," Vega said. "The beach here is very beautiful."
Vega, 83, of San Antonio, said he was pleased to see volunteers picking up trash along Magnolia Beach during the beach cleanup event sponsored by the Texas General Land Office.
Volunteers signed in about 8 a.m. Equipped with large black trash bags and plastic gloves, they spread out across the beach collecting garbage.
Kim Griffith, media coordinator with the Texas General Land Office, said more than 150 people registered to collect trash across the beach.
Griffith said volunteer numbers were up from the spring cleanup, but still close to the average numbers for the biannual cleanup.
Griffith said she was happy to see volunteers from Our Lady of the Gulf, H-E-B, DOW and individuals who live near the beach and people who traveled from as far as Edna to help with the project.
"It's just like any other beach," Griffith said. "Where people play, there are people who don't use the trash cans."
Nate Smith, 14, moved to Magnolia Beach during the summer. He attached a wagon to his bike to help haul filled trash bags to the registration location.
"I didn't really have anything else to do," Nate said. "And I thought my little creation could help people haul bags."
The beach cleanup is a family event for the Beavers.
Laura Hart, 33, grew up in Port Lavaca, and she met her husband, Walter Beaver, 44, at work.
Magnolia Beach is special to Beaver and Hart because it is the location of their first date - and many more dates thereafter.
"It's a known fact that looking at the beach is stress relieving," Beaver said. "There are lots of memories."
But Hart said when people don't clean up after themselves, it deters from the beauty of the beach.
"We like to see the beach looking good," Hart said.
And while cleaning up the beach is a priority, Hart said it was also fun just to hang out on the beach again as a family.
Kirsten Beaver, 7, played on the beach with her 12-year-old sister Kayla Beaver after picking up trash for several hours.
"I helped mommy with her bag," Kirsten said before running to take a dip in the water.
Kayla said she had fun cleaning the beach with her family.
"I found a trash bag - but not in the trash," Kayla said. "It was full of trash but it was under a pavilion."
All the volunteers were given tally sheets to categorize the type of trash they picked up.
Sally Davis, 27, a volunteer with the DOW Hispanic Latin Network, said she found shoes, underwear, lots of diapers and beer bottles.
"Beer bottles, oh - those were in the hundreds," Davis said.
Danny Cano, 55, sponsor of the DOW volunteers, said he found a lot of water bottle caps and glass bottles but he found even more cigarette butts.
"There were too many cigarette butts to count," Cano said. "They just used the beach as their ash tray."
Jenna Weaver, 11, a student at Our Lady of the Gulf said the number of cigarette butts provided perspective for how many people smoke.
"It shocks me how much cigarettes there are around here," Jenna said.
Pedro Alva, 59, of Port Lavaca, a parent chaperone with the Our Lady of the Gulf students, said he was surprised by the number of cigarette butts he found on the beach.
"Especially during a burn ban," Alva said. "The wind could pick those up and carry them."
The student volunteers from Our Lady of the Gulf said they found less trash on the beach than what they expected.
"We want to keep the beach clean so it's nice and beautiful," said Cory Mabry, 13. "So everyone can enjoy it."