A volunteer boasts her patriotism and volunteer efforts, posing with her American Flag and cleaned waste.

By Nick Edwards

The Fourth of July is one of the country’s most widely celebrated holidays. From the food to the fireworks, Americans everywhere love joining together to honor our independence. Each year, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has its own special tradition, the After Fireworks Cleanup, and this year was no exception. According to its website, the organization is responsible for countless service projects dedicated to “creating a cohesive community effort for change.”

The After Fireworks Cleanup takes place annually on the morning of July 5 and serves to combat the waste from the night before. As described on the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful website, “We all enjoy our time celebrating America’s birthday with picnics, libations and sparklers, but the time comes when we must clean up after the party.”

One specific example it mentioned is the waste from fireworks and sparklers. When not disposed of properly, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful notes their potential for detrimental effects to wildlife.

This year’s cleanup took place at 8 a.m. at two locations: Courtney Campbell Causeway South Trail as well as Cypress Point Park. Due to the pandemic, this was the first normal cleanup in two years, as last year Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful encouraged volunteers to participate through self-led cleanups.

The event was a smashing success, and over 100 volunteers came out to help clean up the festivities, adorning their trash bags and yellow vests. In just the couple of hours of the event, they were able to clean up waste from fireworks and general litter. Even students from around the area volunteered and were able to earn community service hours for Bright Futures Scholarships.

For more information on future cleanups and how to get involved with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, visit its website at www.keeptampabaybeautiful.org/get-involved/.

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