South Padre Island delivers simple message

A family from Houston spend some time on the public beach access on Friday, Oct.09,2020 in South Padre Island. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor |

Leave nothing but your footprints on the beach.

That’s the message signs conveyed to beachgoers this summer on South Padre island.

In June, South Padre Island officials posted 28 footprint signs along the city’s public beach exits, reminding tourists and residents to not litter.

“We need to have all our island residents and visitors pitch in when it comes to keeping the island trash-free,” said Ed Caum, South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau Director. “Working together we can make the beach safer and more attractive for humans to enjoy. More importantly, we need to teach future generations the importance of keeping the earth clean and recycling as much as possible.”

The program kicked off in time for the summer visitation season.

The initiative was intended to “remind people to remove all the trash they bring to the beach in order to protect all the species of animals that call the beach, dunes, and the surrounding waters home,” officials said in a press release.

The signs faced east as visitors left the beach through the public access walkways.

The City of South Padre Island recommended that visitors use the trash cans on the beach–or take their trash with them and recycle what they can.

“With these steps, we contribute to creating a safe and sustainable environment for our island and the many ecosystems that live on or around it,” officials said.

Keeping the beaches clean isn’t purely a cosmetic issue, beach debris also threatens the economy, the wildlife, and the food supply. Furthermore, many animals eat plastic when they find it, absorbing toxins that are transferred up the food chain.