‘Trash Free Waters’ inviting volunteers to help keep Tampa’s waters clean

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay area is known for its beautiful waterways. But what’s not beautiful, is the trash that finds its way into those waters.

Al Antolik is the Manager of Trash Free Waters, a part of the organization Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. He’s on a mission to keep the trash out.

“It’s basically a puzzle we need to solve,” he said. “The more I’m out here – the longer I’m out here – I realize there isn’t one solution to the problem, there’s likely a thousand little solutions to the problem.”

WFLA joined Antolik, along with Felix of Carrollwood, who is one of the Tuesday and Thursday volunteers looking to give back. Anyone can register to join the effort. Our first catch was a monster piece of wooden fence.

Felix says he’s trying to set an example and teach his son the importance of helping others.

“It’s about what we can do to help the community,” he said.

The job can have it’s challenges, like the time Antolik’s team decided to pull a few electric scooters from along the Riverwalk on the Hillsborough River.

“No one really knew how many there were, so we decided to make this effort to going along the Riverwalk,” he said.

This was no ordinary job because Antolik says they pulled more than 70 scooters from the water. And that’s not all.

“Basketballs, single shoes, I pulled Barbie from the water yesterday, fruit,” he said. “There’s a whole mess of things out here.”

But that mess, is the message.

“We’re trying to empower and educate the next generation to volunteer for opportunities like this,” Antolik said. “Even if we have a day that we only pick up a couple of containers, those are two containers that didn’t make it out to the bay, that’s two containers that didn’t add to the problem that we have.”

You can register to help with Trash Free Waters events online.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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