‘We need to take care of marine life’: Destin locals clean up area beaches

DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — More than 20 people took time off Tuesday to volunteer and clean up Norriego Point Beach at the Port of Destin.

Wendi Townsend, local real estate agent and self-proclaimed treasure seeker, organized the clean-up day on February 15. Those who joined went by boat from Destin Marina to Norriego Point around 10 a.m.

“I used to vacation here for 12 years, lived here 10,” Townsend said. “I enjoyed the water and I like to support the locals and we need to take care of the sea life otherwise it won’t be as beautiful.”

Townsend says she regularly goes to different beaches along the Emerald Coast to exercise. She says every walk on the beach can become a cleanup walk.

“I go to the beach almost every morning for about 45 minutes before going to the gym or going to work. We all have a job, but I don’t know. It does you good. Fresh air, free exercise, salt air,” Townsend said.

Volunteers on Tuesday picked up dozens of trash bags containing plastic bottles, ropes and other miscellaneous items strewn along the beach. Townsend has done a lot of cleaning and says plastic straws are the first thing she finds on the beach.

“Straws, if anyone’s ever been with me they know I never use straws or bottle caps. I don’t know why people drink these bottled waters and throw away these bottle caps, but not cool,” Townsend said.

Townsend says the next cleanup dive location has not been set, but a date has been.

“March 5th, and we’ll have kids who can do that one. It’s a Saturday morning. I haven’t chosen the beach yet. It’s really difficult. So if you want to follow me on Facebook and let me know of some beaches you’d like to clean up in 3 weeks, let me know,” Townsend said.

Most beach cleanups are for walkers only. Tuesday was made special with the help of local businesses.

“We are in partnership with we have Chris at Destin Marina. They let us launch the boats for Crab Island Jimmy Charters. Please support the local. I have Dan’s sandcastle, I have Brian Douglas’ photograph. There are so many of you,” Townsend said.

Those interested in helping out can find Wendi Townsend on social media here.

“It’s one hour. Go out, have fun, meet new friends, like-minded people. Not only that, just pick up the trash, it’s okay, you won’t get cooties, just pick up the trash,” Townsend said.

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