By LAURIE COKER
Special to the PRESS
Large and small tar balls inundated Texas beaches this summer. Residents and environmental authorities on South Padre Island grappled with this environmental issue as tar patches washed up on the shores of their picturesque barrier island. The deposits raised alarms among locals and visitors, prompting discussions spilling over into social media about the source of the pollution and the most effective cleanup strategies.
Gonzo Peña of the Texas General Land Office (GLO) explained that an official cleanup occurred in Boca Chica, where substantial tar came ashore, even more than on SPI. He also explained that the entire Texas coast saw disturbing amounts of the gooey substance along the shoreline and that the U.S. Coast Guard and the GLO monitor the situation and take action where needed. Tar clings to sand, posing potential hazards to wildlife and raising questions about the impact on the island’s ecosystem.
Locally, beachgoers experience the adverse effects of these deposits. Tar, a great deal carried on feet and shoes, sticks to boardwalks, beach items, and coolers, and even ends up in areas of homes and businesses.
South Padre Island’s Shoreline crews worked to remove the tar that covered boardwalks and shower areas. Crews removed more from public restrooms and picnic areas, and a notable improvement occurred. On social media, tourists posted questions seeking methods for cleaning tar off everything from feet to beach supplies. Responders suggested using WD-40, alcohol, baby oil, and various other products.
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