Now that the big celebration for the Fourth of July is over, the time has come to clean up all the litter and sparklers after the party. Taking care of our environment is our responsibility, but thanks to Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful there is a way for everyone to participate. The organization has been making effort to make more people engage in green activities, maintaining the clean and beautiful neighborhoods in Tampa.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is an affiliation from Keep America Beautiful, which hosts an After the Fireworks Cleanup event throughout cities in America. This year the event in Tampa includes three different locations: the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Cypress Point Park, and Picnic Island Park.

I joined the group at the Cypress Point Park, where about 75 people consisted of groups of friends, families, and students like me. Al and Dorothy from the organization were there to gather people together at the picnic shelter, making sure everyone received gloves, pickup sticks, and garbage bags. They also provide sunscreen, water, and ice to cool down the heat. The weather was perfect, we started from 9 a.m. until noon. It really warmed my heart to see many parents come with their kids, as well as teachers with students, it makes the event even more meaningful and educational. 

After several rounds of walking through the park, the amount of garbage I collected was quite plentiful. Our group as a whole collected three tons of litter and debris. There were so many bottle caps, water bottles, and some items that you never expected. Just imagine all these unnecessary plastics entering our waterways! Not only could it pollute the ocean, it could also affect many lives of marine species. 

I was so happy to be part of such an incredible event, as well as to raise the awareness of environmental protection. Climate change is still a significant problem for many of us, and all of us need to re-evaluate and change the behaviors in our daily lives. An old African proverb says ”If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together." And whether that's small things like turning off lights you don’t need and recycling, or joining the next event Hillsborough River & Coastal Cleanup in September, we can all do our part!

If you want to know more about events in Tampa, register on 813area, a free guide to everything in your city!

Cover photo approved by Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.