Drum Island, the rustic accumulation of oyster shells, pluff mud and undeveloped land beneath the Ravenel Bridge, received a much-needed cleaning on Saturday when a group of volunteers rummaged through the area for litter that had washed ashore.
Wounded Nature - Working Veterans collaborated with the Department of Natural Resources and Barefoot Wine to hold the cleanup less than three weeks before the Cooper River Bridge Run.
The group aimed to remove any eyesores, primarily from the island's southern end, that could potentially be spotted next month by the mass of runners above.
The small patch of land, which is located on the Columbus Street side of the Cooper River, made news in November when pedestrians on the bridge spotted a drunken man stumbling on the island one morning. The man swam across the harbor from Mount Pleasant the night before after a night of bar hopping, authorities reported at the time.
On Saturday, dozens of volunteers filled burlap sacks with frayed rope, empty liquor bottles, flattened drink cups and fragmented pieces of plastic that were pulled from the marsh. Saturday was the island's first extensive cleaning in several years, Wounded Nature board member Kim Bush said.
Rudy Socha, CEO of Wounded Nature, told the group about the dangers that litter could have on the local ecosystem.
Area fish and shrimp could consume carcinogenic chemicals before arriving on your dinner plate, he said. Dolphins, sea turtles and other animals could die from choking on pieces of trash.
"What we're doing today is really going to end up making a difference," he said.
Many of Saturday's volunteers represented area businesses, such as Boeing and Cummins.
Others, like Rindy Ryan of Daniel Island, said they simply heeded a call to give back to the community they love.
"We are boaters, so we see the effect that recreational boating can have on the area. Being on the water, things sometimes fly out of the boat unintentionally. Coming out to something like this gives us a chance to give back to the community that we get so much enjoyment out of," Ryan said.
Wounded Nature plans to conduct five other cleanups this year, beginning in June. The non-profit organization impacts the environment by employing veterans who are re-entering the civilian workforce.
For more information, visit woundednature.org.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.
Wounded Nature CEO Rudy Socha addresses a crowd of volunteers at Charleston Harbor Marina. The group conducted a cleanup of Drum Island on March 14.×
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