Destin beach cleanup leaves students in the youth council wanting to do more

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After a Saturday of doing beach cleanup, the Destin Youth Council wanted to do more. 

“What can we do as a committee to stop the pollution that goes out into the parks and beaches?” was the question the youth asked, according to Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner. 

Wagner said the students don’t mind doing the cleanups, but they want to make a longer-term impact ‒ one that lasts after they have gone off to college. 

Members of the Destin Youth Council recently participated in a beach cleanup day along Destin beaches.

“What can we do now to help even when we are not here?” Wagner said they asked. 

“I thought it was cool they are thinking this way,” he said. 

About a dozen members of the youth council met behind the Back Porch with gloves and trash bags and scanned the beaches for litter in early December. 

“We found plastic straws, bottle caps, plastic bags and a lot of cigarette butts,” said Grace Fountain, chair of the council. 

“The most prominent thing I found was plastic straws,” said Charlie Frankfurt, who also serves on the council. 

But the cleanup was to help and better the community in which they live. 

The students found plastic straws, cigarette butts and more along the beaches.

“Be able to show that we can come together and improve the area around us,” Frankfurt said. 

After the students found multiple Styrofoam cups, cigarette butts, plastic straws, rubber bands and more, they wanted to do more. 

Instead of plastics, “We need to look at safer alternatives,” said James Ball of the council. 

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Wagner challenged the students to do some research on other alternatives, more of a green initiative. 

He is also looking into what other cities and counties have done and what kind of ordinances they have passed. 

In the meantime, the students are doing their homework as well. 

“They are taking the beach cleanup and trying to put a recommendation to the council for the beach cleanup to help reduce the litter on the beaches,” Wagner said. 

The students hope to bring a recommendation before the City Council in January or February. 

The youth council is made up of high school students grades nine through 12 with at least a 2.25 GPA. Members can reapply each year, as long as they fall into the grade requirement.