MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach officials say beachgoers left behind a mountain of trash after the Fourth of July holiday — 52 tons, to be exact.
The debris included garbage and metal recycling, Parks Superintendent J.C. Blackhurst told the city’s Beach Advisory Committee on Wednesday. There was also a “significant amount of glass bottles,” which he said pose a danger to both beachgoers and those who work in the area.
“The staff worked their butts off after the Fourth to get the beaches cleaned up,” he said. “I’m proud and thankful for their hard work.”
While big crowds were expected for the Fourth of July, officials said they continue to see more people than in recent memory on the city’s beaches, and with the exception of a 49-year-old Ohio man who drowned last week, they said there have been no other serious ocean incidents in the past month.
“It seems to me like people are on the beach way more late at night,” Steve Taylor, the beach committee’s chairman said. “It used to be it would get to 5 or 6 o’clock and people would start to clear out. Now, it’s 7 or 8, and they’re still going.”
A Myrtle Beach Police Department spokesman told the committee that during the last month outside of the Fourth of July, police have responded to 136 calls for fireworks. Officers have also answered calls for 35 missing children.
“We’ve had more crowds this summer than I’ve seen in I don’t know when,” he said. “And on the evening of the Fourth, it was like a war zone on the beach.”
Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Mitchell told the committee there were four double red-flag days posted on social media in the past month, meaning swimmers were not permitted in the ocean because of dangerous conditions. On top of that, he said there were 11 days in which the department used social media to issue advisories about dangerous rip currents.
Weslyn Lack-Chickering of Lack’s Beach Services agreed that this summer’s crowds on the beaches have been huge. But after having trouble finding enough lifeguards and attendants earlier in the summer, she said the Fourth of July was hectic, but safe. The biggest issue, she said, involved people swimming too close to the 2nd Avenue Pier.
Lack-Chickering said her business is anticipating the departure of several lifeguards when school resumes next month. However, there are at least four J1 visa employees who will be staying on past the middle of August to help out, she said.
“We’re doing ok,” she said. “We’re making it. July Fourth was unreal. It got to the point where our managers had a hard time even getting onto the beach.”
Nick Jackson of John’s Beach Service said his business is nearly back to 100 percent staff after also struggling earlier in the summer. Seven new J1 visa employees have helped ease the crunch, he said.
“I hate to complain about having too much business, but this summer has been nuts,” he said.