St. Augustine man collects almost 50 pounds of trash off beaches

St. Augustine, Fla. — Trash left behind on our beaches is a growing problem, according to one St. Augustine man.

And he would know. He’s been picking it up for months.

While most people collect seashells from the beach, Eric Stanion picks up trash with his wife.

“We just started picking it up and when we’d get done we’d go back and be surprised at how much we picked up,” he said.

Almost every day he hits the beaches and cleans them up bit by bit.

“Picking up a pound or two every time we go for a walk, what if ten people were doing that?” Stanion said.

His most recent haul was seven pounds. Plastic, Styrofoam, fishing line, bottles, cigarette butts -- you name it, he’s probably got it.

In just four months, Stanion says he’s already collected almost 50 pounds of trash from St. Augustine’s beaches.

Stanion says he’s noticed even more trash washing up on the shores since the pandemic.

Again, he’s not wrong.

Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy group, reports volunteers removed over 107,000 personal protective equipment items like masks and gloves from beaches and waterways worldwide in the second half of 2020.

“We gotta take control of our beaches, take care of them ourselves,” Stanion added.

He says he just wants people to love and respect the beaches.

Action News Jax reached out to SJC Parks and Recreation for numbers on trash on local beaches.

The County reports record numbers of trash on its beaches throughout the pandemic. A spokesperson says that’s because of increased use of the beaches. The county says it picks up trash at the beaches daily, and twice a day during holidays and weekends when the beaches are busier.