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Carolina Beach Mayor discusses choice to remove trash cans from beaches

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Earlier this year the Town of Carolina Beach announced it would remove most trash cans from beaches in an effort to cut down on littering. So how well is the plan working?

Mayor LeAnn Pierce says the initiative called ‘Pack it in Pack it out’ was under consideration for several years before going into effect. She says it’s been successful in other beach towns.

“We want our beach to be pristine, so we removed all the blue barrels and the cans from the north end and from the beach strand except for in the boardwalk area,” Mayor Pierce said.

Old blue trash cans on the beach strand have been replaced by new rolling cans at public beach access entrances.

“We started the program in early March and we’ve seen a significant reduction in trash on the beach,” Pierce said. “We’ve been very pleased with the outcome.”

Some visitors agree removing the cans from the beach is a step in the right direction.

“You have storms come, like strong winds, so just in case like the bin falls over and the trash can blow in the ocean, hurt the animals,” said Keairra Stinson.

However, others worry losing that convenience will cause some to become complacent.

“Sometimes if you don’t see a trash can, you don’t necessarily have that reminder ‘oh, it’s right there, I can just throw it away there and not have to worry about it later,’” said visitor Sarah McCabe.

The town has installed signs reminding beachgoers to take their trash with them, and warning of fines of up to $500 for littering. One visitor says he feels the town should go a step further.

“My idea would be maybe a program where they have bags accessible to beachgoers here to grab while they come and put their trash in there and take with them,” Collin Bartley said.

Mayor Pierce however says the current setup appears to be working.

“We have several different volunteer groups who go out and comb the beach and several of them have reported less trash than they’ve seen in the past when the cans were on the beach,” she said.

You can read more about the ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ program here.

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