Gandy and Courtney Campbell beaches trashed after Fourth of July celebrations

Cleanup costs taxpayers thousands of dollars
Posted at 4:29 PM, Jul 05, 2017

If you drove by Gandy Beach or Ben T. Davis Beach Wednesday you probably noticed huge heaps of trash scattered across the sand.

It's a dirty mess costing you thousands of dollars. Every time people leave trash on the beach, cleanup crews are dispatched and the bill comes to FDOT.

“There’s beer cans all over the place," Tammy Bonfiglio said as she got out of her van for a day of swimming. The out-of-state visitor couldn’t believe her eyes. This wasn't the Gandy Beach she remembered.

“This place used to be so nice years ago when I came down here. Now it’s just trash everywhere," she added.

Thousands of glass bottles, hundreds of charred fireworks, scattered shoes, cups and cans littered the sand after a day of Fourth of July festivities.

“It’s disgusting," Bonfiglio groaned.

Even a porcelin toilet smashed into a million pieces was left on the sand.

“That’s just incredible isn’t it. I mean why and how? I have so many questions about why that's even there," Wendy Meehan said looking at the piles of garbage.

It’s a frustrating sight for the Audubon volunteer who comes to Gandy Beach frequently to check on nesting shorebirds. Wednesday, the laughing gulls and terns are wading through trash and picking at abandoned food.

“These visitors! They come here and they enjoy the environment. Well, somebody has to take care of it," Meehan exclaimed.

One man’s trash is another man’s cash. It costs FDOT $15,000 a year to clean up Gandy Beach.

Your tax dollars also go towards cleaning up the Courtney Campbell Causeway where “Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful”  volunteers had their work cut out for them Wednesday.

By the end of the morning, 200 volunteers picked up an estimated 200,000 pounds of garbage.

Bonfiglio can't  help but think 'wow, what a way to celebrate Independence Day.'

“This is America the Beautiful, let’s keep it that way," she said.

FDOT even added several dozen more blue trash cans to the sand near Gandy Beach and Ben T. Davis Beach. Even so, several people left their trash just a few centimeters away from the can on the ground.

"It really ticks me off," Meehan said with angst.