MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — There’s a little less litter in Murrells Inlet thanks to a group of volunteers who took part in Sunday’s 30th annual Spring Tide Community Clean Up.

Volunteers picked up litter in the areas of Morse Park Landing, the MarshWalk, the Boat Landing and the Oyster Landing.

Along the way, organizations like the South Carolina Aquarium and Our Marsh Counts helped educate the community. Data from Our Marsh Counts’ last community litter sweep in the marsh showed that 78% of the litter picked up was plastic.

“Plastic pollution is a crisis level in our waterways, and we have to figure it out,” Kelly Thorvalson, conservation programs manager at the South Carolina Aquarium, said. Cigarette filters accounted for up to 50% of the litter in all four areas.

Thorvalson said collecting data is as vital as picking up the litter.

“[It helps] us better understand the most problematic types of debris and ultimately find a solution,” Thorvalson said.

Finding a solution could take time but each community cleanup helps. Thorvalson was thankful for the number of people who showed up for this year’s event.

“This is such a great crowd,” Thorvalson said. “It’s a beautiful day, and I just love how Murrells Inlet has engaged the community for 30 years. This is obviously really important to the community.”

The event was organized by multiple groups, including Our Marsh Counts, The Chirping Birds Society, The South Carolina Aquarium, Coastal Carolina University Sustain Coastal Group, Stand Up Paddle Boarders and Murrells Inlet 2020.

“Spring Tide is my favorite day of the year because it’s a day that we come out and take care of the creek and the streets and the roadsides,” Sandra Bundy, the founder of Our Marsh Counts, said.

Organizers said community litter sweeps like this help beautify the area and help with data collection, but environmental advocates encourage everyone to do their part on a daily basis.

“Even just putting in one or two pieces as you’re finding it on your way to your car or work [can help], Thorvalson said. “These are all really important ways to understand what the litter problem is.”

You can collect data with the South Carolina Aquarium Citizens Science cell phone app, The Litter Free Digital Journal.