After enjoying July 4th, be sure to pitch in and help clean up the area

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — What comes to mind when you think of celebrating the Fourth of July?

You may think of grilling outside, going to the beach or setting off fireworks. While many people view these firework displays in awe, have you ever thought about what they’re made of and why so many of them are left in our parks and beaches after the holiday?

Most fireworks contain plastic, wood, cardboard and lots of packaging, which commonly turn into marine debris when not thrown away. Since many fireworks in Eastern North Carolina are fired off from waterways, the debris can easily travel through rivers or sounds into the Atlantic Ocean.

Fourth of July fireworks and other celebrations in Eastern North Carolina

This is one of the many reasons NOAA started its Marine Debris Program. They hope one day to make the global ocean and its coasts free from litter. Marine debris is a human-caused problem and, therefore, has human solutions.

Supply issues lead to fireworks shortages in some areas of Eastern NC

This holiday, you could help. On July 5th, grab a broom and dustpan and sweep up all the fireworks rubble that may be littered outside your house. Throwing it away at your home keeps it from making its way into the ocean and harming marine life. If you want to do even more, head on down to the beach with your family and friends and have a group cleanup.

If you do plan on popping off fireworks, please be mindful of the environment so we can continue to enjoy its beauty for generations to come.

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