TAMPA, Fla. – 'Arrr' you surprised one of the biggest parades in the country would require one of the biggest cleanup efforts afterward?
Hundreds of thousands of revelers had barely cleared off Bayshore Boulevard before city cleanup crews swept in on Saturday evening to begin picking up all the treasure-turned-trash left behind from Gasparilla 2018.
It's estimated that city workers and volunteers will collect roughly 24 tons of garbage following the annual event, according to our reporting partners at the Tampa Bay Times.
About 3 or 4 tons will be beads.
Now in its seventh year, more than 300 volunteers are expected to take part in what's become a post-Gasparilla tradition by gathering on Bayshore Boulevard Sunday morning to pick up trash.
The event is organized by Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. Here's how to volunteer.
Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Volunteers can meet at any one of four locations along Bayshore Boulevard.
Clean-up begins at 9 a.m. and is expected to last until 12:30 p.m. Volunteers are advised to wear sunscreen, a hat and close-toed shoes. Trash bags, gloves and water will be provided.
"It's massive, it's a lot of trash for limited crews to pick up," said Christina Arenas, the environmental program manager for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.
"[City crews] do the street sweepers, but there are beads in the trees, beads in the grass, on the sidewalk."
Arenas said they are always looking for more volunteers, adding she thinks the cleanup is an opportunity to give people a sobering look at the amount of trash people can leave behind at large events.
"After the party, after the parade, I think people kind of see, 'Wow, we did this,'" Arenas said. "It's a direct visualization of the impact."
As for the tons of beads left behind, for the first time the city of Tampa is taking part in an effort to collect the plastic beads to recycle them. Krispy Kreme is also offering an incentive to recycle the beads by offering doughnuts in exchange.
Residents are advised against discarding the beads into curbside bins because they can eventually get tangled in the equipment.
Instead, specific bins for beads will be at four locations across the city beginning Feb. 1:
- Copeland Park Community Center, 11001 N 15th St.
- Kate Jackson Community Center, 821 S Rome Ave.
- Loretta Ingraham Recreation Complex, 1611 N Hubert Ave.
- MacDonald Training Center, 5420 W Cypress St.
Also, the Krispy Kreme on Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa is offering a dozen doughnuts in exchange for 12 pounds of beads on Feb. 24 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
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