Litter along Lousiana's beaches has become a well-recognized problem. In September 1987, Louisiana's first statewide beach cleanup attracted about 3300 volunteers who filled 16,000 bags with trash collected along 15 beaches. An estimated 800,173 items were gathered. Forty percent of the items were made of plastic and 11% were of polystyrene. Of all the litter collected, 37% was beverage-related. Litter from the oil and gas, commercial fishing, and maritime shipping industries was found, as well as that left by recreational users. Although beach cleanups temporarily rid Louisiana beaches of litter, the real value of the effort is in public participation and education. Civic groups, school children, and individuals have benefited by increasing their awareness of the problems of trash disposal.