By Bryant Reed | July 5, 2020 at 4:39 PM EDT – Updated July 6 at 3:44 AM
MASONBORO ISLAND, N.C. (WECT) – It’s the go-to spot on the Fourth of July weekend for many locals and vacationers — Masonboro Island.
After being threatened to shut down nearly 12 years ago because of the literal tons of trash left behind, a group teamed up to clean up the island.
Since then, every year on the day, they pick up trash on the Fourth of July. For coronavirus safety reasons this year though, they went to clean up the day after and were pleasantly surprised.
“It’s beautiful,” said Elizabeth Futrell, a first-time volunteer. “This year is amazing, I can’t believe there’s nothing to pick up.”
An almost bare island. Any trash left behind was picked up within an hour of being there. The president of Masonboro.org, Tom Hackler, tips his hat to the partiers who’ve shown some home training.
“What’s happening is the young people are getting the environmental message, because of what’s going on in the world,” said Hackler. “Especially the 20 year olds now, they’ve pretty much grown up with environmental awareness their entire lives, so they’re catching on.”
Of course, he also gives credit to their continued presence over the years.
Trash has declined dramatically from 4,000 pounds a few years ago, to 1,100 last year, to an estimated 300 pounds at Sunday’s pickup.
“Very appreciative of the public, of the young people keeping this island in the shape that it needs to stay in so we can all come over and enjoy,” said Hackler.
It’s not just a party spot anymore, groups see the beauty of the island. It’s a sign of hope for Hackler and cleanup volunteers.
There’s now an understanding why Masonboro.org sacrifices their holiday for the island and the environment they love.
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