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Annual Big Sweep helps keep Wilmington clean

READ MORE: Annual Big Sweep helps keep Wilmington clean
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Many people went to the beach Saturday to enjoy what's left of summer like temperatures, but many volunteers visited the area to pick up what those folks may have left behind. Saturday was the annual Big Sweep for the Keep America Beautiful campaign. Volunteers visited area waterways, like Wrightsville Beach, to help pick up litter. David Cignotti, a Keep America Beautiful board member said, “Each of the past years the event's grown more from 100 to 140, and this year over 170.” Volunteers also visited Carolina Beach, Greenfield Lake, and Kure Beach to pick up garbage. At Wrightsville Beach, volunteers found lots of one type of litter, more than any other. “I found like a whole bag full. I found mostly cigarette butts, like there are so many cigarette butts around. I think I probably found about 400 cigarette butts. It was bad,” said volunteer Caitlin Scalfaro. The Big Sweep began as a beach sweep more than twenty years ago. Since then, nearly 200,000 volunteers have retrieved over 6,000,000 pounds of debris from North Carolina waterways. With so many volunteers at this year's cleanup, organizers say it's not uncommon to find some very unusual items here on the beach. “Some of the more unique one's at Wrightsville Beach today were two automobile tires, which you never find on the beach, they were probably from the storm. We also had a sewer pipe that was found,” said Cignotti. Organizers keep a record of the unusual items and give a prize to the volunteer who finds the most unique piece of litter. At the end of the area clean up efforts, Keep America Clean board members will vote on the strangest item found. In the past, winning items have included World War II ammunition. To get involved with the program you can call Keep America Clean at 910-798-4404.

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