Monday, August 9, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day #1

Saturday, we spent our day volunteering with Ocean Cure for Life Rolls On: They Will Surf Again at Wrightsville Beach, NC.  Ok... so maybe "we" was more like my husband.  I registered all of us to volunteer, but my husband did all the volunteering.  He was in the water from 9:30 am to 2:30pm helping those with spinal cord injuries get out in the water and surf.  While he was in the water pushing past the waves and strong undertow (not to mention crazy rip currents)... I was on the beach in the "Chill Zone."  For me, that just meant that I laid around, talked, and picked up litter.  Somewhat of a typical day at the beach, but with free pizza.

But it wasn't just a typical day.  Once again, just like at Hands Across the Sand, I crossed paths with the Mayor of Wrightsville Beach.

Not long before we went to California, the town of Wrightsville Beach held a vote on banning cigarrettes from the beach strand... it was voted down 3-2 :(  (**Let me just say that the Mayor is 100% FOR the ban.)  It really bummed me out.  Then we went to Santa Monica and helped Sara (The Daily Ocean) do a 20 minute beach clean-up... and since then I've had one thing on my mind:

While we were helping Sara, we quickly noticed that we weren't picking up cigarette butts.  In fact, we didn't pick up one cigarette butt during the 20 minute clean-up.  Here at our local beaches cigarette butts abound.  It's nothing for us to pick up a few hundred cigarette butts on our beaches.  So... on Saturday as I talked to the Mayor of WB, I decided that I'm going to help make Wrightsville Beach (strand) Cigarette-Free.

How am I going to do it??  Taking inspiration from Sara who writes The Daily Ocean blog, I'm going to go out to the beach and document what I pick up in 20 minutes.  My plan is to go out to Wrightsville Beach at least two times a week.

My focus?  Cigarette butts.  Yes, we're going to count (and keep) every single one that we pick up.  My hope is that I can somehow help those who are already pushing the Town of Wrightsville Beach for the ban and make a difference...

Today, after I picked my daughter up from Surf Camp, we headed over to the south end of Wrightsville Beach.

We started our 20 minute beach clean up as soon as we hit the gazebo.  Not surprised by what we found.

Of course....we didn't pass up other litter.

A piece of stretchy plastic found in the waves.

At one point during our 20 minutes, my kids and I just sat down because there were so many cigarette butts.  :(  At our 20 minute mark, we stopped picking up litter and the kids played in the ocean.

August 9, 2010
One Mom (that's "me") and three kids picked up 
346 cigarette butts 
off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 20 minutes.

And this is what else we found:

6 oz of various plastics.

And then you wouldn't believe it... as we waited to leave the island... we sat at the draw bridge and I watched a man smoke his cigarette and then toss it out his window.  You better believe that I swatted that litterbug!!