On January 9, 2019, my friend A. texted me with a request: “Hi James! I plan to go to the river bank near the [N]ews [J]ournal and pick up the trash. Would you like to join me?”
I often ride my bike through Riverfront Park along the Halifax River and adjacent to Beach Street in downtown Daytona Beach, so I had a selfish reason to clean up the area. I had noted after a recent storm, the shoreline in the park near the Daytona Beach News-Journal building was heavily littered with trash and debris. So when A. suggested cleaning the park, I quickly agreed to help. We planned to meet at noon on Sunday, January 13.
In the meantime I shopped the local hardware store for supplies. I bought an extended grabber, two pairs of heavy-duty gloves, and industrial-strength trash bags.
The Sunday weather report predicted rain, but the day turned out to be sunny and warm. We met at noon and planned to work for a few hours, cleaning up a 200-foot section of the riverbank. We put on our gloves and got to work.
The trash was mostly plastic bottles and aluminum cans. But we picked up at least a half-dozen syringes/hypodermic needles, very carefully placing them in our bags. Curious to see how many plastic straws we would find, A. made a collection of them.
During our work we discovered several vocal cats living among the rocks and bushes. Several people walking through the park thanked us for our work or gave us a thumbs-up. That was nice. But it was more satisfying to see the progress we made making the park cleaner (and safer). I will enjoy riding my bike through this section knowing I did a small part to make my local neighborhood a little better.
When we finished around 4:00 pm, we had filled more than three extra large trash bags. We were tired, with sore backs, but no bloodshed or injury.
After washing up, we of course rewarded ourselves with dinner and beers at McK’s Tavern. It was a great finish to a well-spent, productive, and fun Sunday afternoon. Perhaps we’ll do it again in the future.