WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- After being left with massive amounts of trash on the beach last July Fourth holiday Wrightsville Beach is cracking down on litterbugs. Wrightsville Beach resident Drew Peterson said, "Last year was a mess all over the beach but that's what you get when you get a hundred thousand tourists in a small area." Town officials say the amount of trash left on the beach the week of July Fourth in 2005 increased 11 percent from the year before, and in 2006 it went up a whopping 36 percent. Public Works Manager Mike Vukelich said, "The trash we collected off the beach last year would have been about 120 household containers, trash cans." Last year's holiday week left such a mess: beer cans, and lots of them. Town officials started enforcing the ban on booze and so far, the difference is noticeable. Resident Cynthia Andrews said, "I think it's much better this year. Last year was just horrendous, there was a lot of trash left after the big holiday weekend, this year seems much better controlled and there a lot more trash cans on the beach." Masonboro Island is another area authorities are keeping a close eye on this year. Last holiday season about 3,000 boaters took to the waters. Law enforcement was kept busy with numerous fights, accidents, and drunk and disruptive behavior. North Carolina Wildlife Enforcement arrested or cited almost 700 people, gave out more than 1,000 warnings and made more than two dozen drunk boating arrests across the state. The New Hanover County Sheriff's boat patrol, Coast Guard and the Wildlife Commission will be patrolling the waters near Masonboro Island this week. Authorities say to avoid getting in trouble by using common sense. Don't get into fights, don't drink and boat and don't jump off a boat while it's moving.
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