After 100 days, coast beaches still need cleaning

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After 100 days of oil spill news coverage, coast beaches are quiet and a bit empty. That's the impression left on Carl and Heidi, visitors from Fort Walton Beach.  Carl likes the beach but not the quiet.

"They look fairly clean. I guess the clean-up crews are doing their job. But they are very deserted, there's nobody out here."

A hundred days into the oil spill, workers that are combing the beaches, searching for oil, are not having a hard time finding it. A bag full of tarballs and tarpatties was filled up in about an hour on the beach in Biloxi.

One of the recovery techs, as they are called, is Aaron Jackson. Even though he welcomes the steady income from the job, it pains him to see the impact of the oil spill on the outdoor activities that he loves.

"I'm a fishermen, I like to fish," Jackson said. "I like animals and I hate to see that the oil is killing the animals.  But it's going to be okay though."

Cleaning up the mess in 90 plus degree weather is tough. It can also be dangerous. Jim Watkins is in charge of safety during the clean-up.  He said he has seen first hand the danger.

"We have had a few people that have been transported to hospitals for heat exhaustion." Watkins said.  "I don't know what the treatment was, but they were hauled off in ambulances."

If there is a bright side to the oil spill, it is the fact that some people who had a hard time finding a job in an economy pounded by the recession have become productive workers once again. David Hicks is one of those workers, and this job has been a blessing for the out of work contractor.

"I almost lost my home twice in two months," Hicks said.  "I borrowed money from friends, which I'm now able to pay them back now a little bit at a time, but it's been really tough."

From the very beginning of the spill, BP officials have said they will scour the beaches of every state impacted by the spill until the last drop of oil is cleaned up.  And with a man from Mississippi, Bob Dudley, now in charge, most coast residents feel that promise will be kept.

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