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'Awful for the environment': Beachgoers, staff disappointed after trash left behind during holiday weekend

Some beachgoers suggest the problem could be alleviated somewhat if trash cans were placed at the end of each walkway leading onto the beach.

MADISON, Conn. — With the weather during the last two days of Memorial Day weekend being sunny and very warm, of course, local beaches were full, which also means they were full of trash. And not all of it was properly discarded, which can become hazardous to wildlife.

While cleanup crews left behind very little evidence at Hammonasset State Park beach, there were still reminders Tuesday of how much trash builds up after a busy weekend.

"Obviously, the more people show up, unfortunately, the more trash is generated," said Bill Mattioli, Director of Hammonasset State Park.

RELATED: Thousands flock to Hammonasset beach for Memorial Day

Some beachgoers suggest the problem could be alleviated somewhat if trash cans were placed at the end of each walkway leading onto the beach.

"I honestly feel like it’s just awful for the environment," said Ashleigh Richard of Massachusetts. "It’s not that hard to just get a little trash bag and take it with you."

And, if some of the trash gets windblown, it can get caught in the dunes.

"We ask people to please be mindful of that," Mattioli said. "You know the dunes are protected areas. We hope it doesn’t go in there."

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As to the type of trash that's most dangerous to wildlife, Mattioli says one of them would be nylon balloons, which don't break down. 

One beachgoer plucked a balloon tied to the back of her chair from the water Tuesday morning.

"I'm a marine biology major so I knew that balloons are really bad for ocean animals and pollution and they're everywhere and they lose the helium, and they sink and then they get eaten," said Alyssa Fraleigh of Massachusetts.

RELATED: Lake McDonough closed to swimming until further notice as lifeguard shortages hit Connecticut beaches

And while the Hammonasset maintenance team did a very nice job with their cleanup, we were still able to fill a third of a garbage bag with random beach trash in less than five minutes.

"It's our hope that people bring off the beach what they brought on and, as they are exiting, at all of the parking lots we have numerous dumpsters around," Mattioli said as a gentle reminder

"It's not that hard to pick up your trash," Richard said.

And, if you don't, you could be fined $75 for littering at the beach. 

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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