ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - On Monday, dozens of volunteers at Bartlett Park, in St. Petersburg, Florida, managed to collect nearly 300 pounds of trash in celebration of Earth Day. It's not an easy job, but somebody has to do.
"Most of the stuff, it doesn't get stuck in easy places, you have to go in [and get it]," said Alessandra Cannella, a St. Pete local who volunteered her time on Monday.
The volunteers pushed their way through the mangroves in order to collect the trash that had settled out of sight.
"We found so many plastic bags, styrofoam cups," explained Cannella. "The styrofoam cups break apart so then you have to get all the little pieces."
It's a small task that promises to make a huge difference.
"Our efforts need to be year round. Everybody can be involved in making a difference in their community. You don't have to be a scientist or a government official," said St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman.
That difference can easily be made on both a local and national level all with the click of a button through the use of the Clean Swell app.
"The Clean Swell app allows people to tally up each individual piece of trash that they find," explained Melanie Grillone with Tampa Bay Watch.
The app gives users a way to continually track the garbage they collect along the coastlines. It gives local and national organizations a way to keep track of the hot spot areas for pollution.
"That might create a location that you know that you can go out and target yourself," said Grillone. "Or [you can] reach out to a group that might be out there a lot and really combine efforts out there."
It's a problem that won't be fixed overnight, but treating every day as Earth Day is a small way to help sustain our environment for years to come.
For more information on the Clean Swell app, visit https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/cleanswell/.
To see the hot spot areas for pollution near you, visit https://www.coastalcleanupdata.org/.