Spring Break 'trashes' South Padre Island

Spring break is a big boom for the South Padre Island economy.

But when it comes to cleaning up after those fun-loving college kids, Cameron County officials thought involving beachgoers own money, might have them thinking twice before they litter.

Ask anyone what TMs the downside of a big party and they'll tell you its cleaning up after everyone.

With college kids from all over the country flocking to the Island, there's plenty of evidence the trash they left behind of questionable behavior.

Just ask Adopt-A-Beach organizer Javier Mendez.

"Some people leave syringes around so it hurts the environment, sea turtles, sea gulls, pelicans, and humans," said Mendez.

County officials started the "Cash for Trash" program back on March 1st to help fight the problem.

"People that drive on to the beach, we charge them $5 and give them a bag. They give that bag back to us and we give them $5 back," said Mendez.

County officials say these large dumpsters accumulate about 270 cubic yards of trash, like broken lawn chairs, during Texas Week alone.

Tony Hernandez with Cameron County Parks is responsible for picking up a lot of that trash.

"Its really bad," Hernandez said. "If we didn't do that it would be a landfill out here."

That's enough to fill up nine dumpsters.

"What do they think about what they leave behind?" asked Hernandez.

As messy as it may seem, those left to clean it up say the new program is keeping the beaches much cleaner.

Taking Action

Adopt-A-Beach Spring Clean-UpSouth Padre IslandApril 28, 2012Register here: