HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Beach cleaning equipment is busy removing tons of spent fireworks and other litter from the sand following the holiday weekend. Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis calls it the worst mess he has seen in years.
Could his crews have tackled the cleanup any earlier?
Rakes moved through the sand in the area near the Biloxi lighthouse on Monday morning. It will take days to remove the Fourth of July trash from 26 miles of sand beach. Holiday crowds left behind quite the mess.
"By far, the most we've ever seen," said Loftis, who says the sheer number of visitors enjoying the beach over the holiday weekend limited what cleanup work his crews could accomplish.
"We had our crews out emptying the trash cans and the trash that people did put up around the barrels, but you have to realize it was a Saturday. There was no way for us to get our beach cleaning equipment out there on Saturday morning when you had people still coming to the beach laying out," Loftis explained.
Could more beach workers be the answer, even temporary hires?
"I think we can look at the situation and mitigate it somewhat, but when you have the number of people, and thank goodness we had that number of people on the beach, it's just almost impossible to maintain it as I said, in a pristine condition," said Board of Supervisors President Marlin Ladner.
While it's easy to point the finger at county beach crews for not cleaning up the mess more quickly, it seems that even more blame should be placed on those responsible for leaving this mess.
The people who brought their fireworks to the beach could have just as easily brought along a large trash bag and cleaned up after themselves.
"We're doing the best we possibly can with our manpower," said Loftis. "With the people that came, the influx of people on the beach, we did everything that was possible for the weekend."
Along with the normal number of trash barrels on the beach this weekend, the county added 10 large dumpsters placed at various parking areas along the beach, but from the looks of the mess left behind, many beach visitors failed to use them.