DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — Intern Erin Casellas with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is dedicated to leaving the famous beach town a little cleaner than she found it, by bringing in the Fill-A-Bag trash program.
“I think that there is a lot of trash unfortunately that washes up especially on the barrier islands like Dauphin Island. It is really sad to see, I have personally seen fishing line entangled in sharks and evidence of fishing gear entanglement on dolphins, and the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network has found plastic in the stomachs of stranded marine mammals.”Erin Casellas, Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network
Microplastics have been found in the stomachs of marine mammals in different locations as well, not just on the Gulf Coast.
Erin tells WKRG News 5 while participating in a virtual beach cleanup with the University of Miami, she was connected with the program’s founder. Fill-A-Bag places standing posts with hanging buckets at public beach areas.
Realizing the local problem of trash on beaches, she brought the possible solution to the City of Dauphin Island.
“It makes me so happy that this is taking hold. I was hoping that it would but I was able to talk to the mayor directly and he was all about the idea. So I am happy that the community here seems accepting of the idea so far and hopefully, it can make difference.”
Funding for this project is already secured, Erin says the Fill-a-bag program has an account to help other areas get started. The program underway in 25 Florida towns, Massachusetts, and Australia.
“One way that I think everyone can contribute is to pick up trash along the beach, and removing it right from the source, hopefully before the tide can come in and pull it back into the water,” said Erin.
The posts will be set up in early to mid-June. Erin is working with the city to find the best locations on the Island. If you would like to help Erin with this project, she says more buckets will be needed.
I would love any bucket donations from people or local businesses, we will need at least 8 buckets in any size from 1-5 gallons. And even if people aren’t visiting a beach with a Fill-A-Bag station, bringing along their own buckets or plastic bags to collect trash in is super simple and a great way to protect marine life and keep the beaches beautiful.Erin Casellas
The Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline is 1-877-942-5343 in case you find a sick, entangled, or dead marine mammal in the water or onshore. There is also a sea turtle stranding network hotline number, 1-866-732-8878 if you find a dead or live sea turtle onshore.