TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Each year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of beads are tossed around during the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.
Thankfully, the Tampa Police Department’s Dive Team is working to make sure those pirate treasures stay out of Tampa Bay.
The divers team up with local scuba clubs to pick up beads that end up in the water before and after the Gasparilla festivities.
“Sometimes a fun little game of ours that we play, we’ll grab the beads and whoever comes up with the most beads on their head wins lunch,” Tampa Police Diver Christopher Audet said.
The beads and trash like plastic bottles, solo cups and straws are hazardous to wildlife.
“Not to mention unnecessary food. Some people are chucking apple cores, banana peels and Cuban sandwiches,” Audet said.
Police are asking residents to not toss beads from their boats.
You can recycle your beads at four collection sites in the city.
For additional information on the Bead Reuse Program, visit www.tampa.gov/BeadFreeBay.