HARRISON COUNTY -- The morning after brilliant fireworks lit the night sky along the beaches of Harrison County, the sand was littered with the aftermath -- debris from the thousands of revelers who celebrated Independence Day along the Sound.
Harrison County Sand Beach Authority crews took to the beaches at 5:30 a.m. Saturday to tend to the mess, but with only six people allotted to work the holiday weekend, they were only able to clear out Dumpsters and garbage cans.
"We're concentrating on picking up the garbage in the garbage cans," said Chuck Loftis, director of the Sand Beach Authority. "Our hands are tied -- we can only do so much.
"Monday, we'll start with beach cleaners, picking up the fireworks."
Loftis said because the beaches were still packed with people Saturday, bringing out the equipment needed to clear fireworks debris wasn't possible.
"We have machines, tractors pulling the beach cleaning machines behind them," he said. "We'll start first thing Monday morning with the beach sweepers, but it's just not safe to do all that with that many people out there."
Another problem with cleaning fireworks debris is no place to take it on a weekend, Loftis said.
"There's no place to dump the material -- landfills aren't open on the weekends," he said.
Loftis also said there seemed to be more trash on the beach this year than in the past.
"We saw much more than we usually see," he said. "But there were so many people out. (Saturday) at 3:30 in the afternoon you couldn't find a parking spot on the beach."
Most people used the Dumpsters placed on the beach to throw away their trash, but larger Dumpsters in the parking areas went mostly unused.
"Out of the 10 Dumpsters we had in parking bays, eight of them were completely empty (Saturday) morning," Loftis said. "But some people did make an attempt to use the cans on the beach. If they were full, some people put bags beside the cans, and we appreciate that."
Loftis said the six-man crew would be out Sunday morning, too, working on emptying Dumpsters again.
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