Partygoers attending a “Floatopia” event spent the day drinking and bobbing in the Virginia Beach surf. And then they left behind tons of trash.
“Leave nothing but footprints,” is akin to the Golden Rule for nature. The attendees of the event at Chic’s Beach on May 24 failed miserably at following it.
Nearby residents awoke on Memorial Day with the trash from the previous day’s event covering the beach: floats, collapsible canopies, boogie boards, bottles and more.
On a normal weekend, public works employees collect about a ton of trash from the area. This weekend, they collected 10 tons.
This morning..neighbors went down and city trucks showed up pic.twitter.com/4yOcpWGWHu
— Jeannie Kartis (@jeannie_kartis) May 27, 2019
— WTKR News 3 (@WTKR3) May 27, 2019
Y’all really went to floatopia and left our beaches like this? Shame on you. pic.twitter.com/p1EeHYBth5
— Sierra Taylor (@Sierrantaylor) May 27, 2019
Video footage and pictures of the trash circulated widely online, prompting angry reactions from some people in the community.
“I was disappointed to wake up this morning to see images of trash all over our beautiful Chesapeake Bay beach after Sunday’s festivities. We can do better than this! Let’s work together to keep our city beautiful and clean,” councilman Michael Berlucchi said in a Facebook post.
A video recorded by Melissa Noel showing piles of trash garnered over 1.1 million views.
“Wow. Stay classy Virginia Beach,” she said while moving her phone around to capture the scene. “I think there’s what, maybe one, two trash cans in the middle of that?” she added, showing a huge pile of trash.
“I almost don’t want to live here anymore,” she said.
Virginia Beach spokesperson Drew Lankford told CNN the event was not city-sponsored or sanctioned. The event began with a Facebook invite and spread through word of mouth.
“If youve been to a Floatopia then ‘ya know what its all about,” read the invite. “Bring your own beverage in a cup/coozie/cooler, and of course-FLOATS!!!!”
“Most of us have never heard of it,” Lankford said.
Now, they have.
“We’re happy to have people come down there and enjoy the beach and have a good time,” Lankford says.
He even says had he known about it he’d have probably gone out there to partake. But it’s a public beach and they should have cleaned up after themselves.
“It’s not fair, particularly to the people that live right there,” he says.
Barry Preston, who lives at the beach, says it’s not the first time they’ve had issues with the event.
NTD News reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.