Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day 4

Yesterday, my husband took off work early so that we could go to the beach with his parents who had been visiting for the past week.  Ever since the kids and I picked up litter at access 36, they had been begging us to go to "Oceanic" for dinner.  So as much as I would've liked to go to a different access to do a 20 minute clean-up... we ended up back here:

We parked in the parking lot just across the street from the access.  As I was locking up my car I noticed the man who was parked right next to me was smoking a cigarette.  THEN... he threw his butt on the ground.  I took a deep breath and said, "Hey... I totally have to say something.  Did you know that cigarette butts are the most littered item worldwide?"  He didn't.  "And that that butt will never biodegrade... instead it will go down that drain... to the ocean......"  

He said, "I had no idea.  I'll pick it up."  AND he actually did!!  This is a milestone for me... I usually never say anything to people... I like to leave that job to my husband ;)

We spent a few hours at the beach playing in the waves and boogie boarding.  Then as we sat on the sand, my husband and I reminisced about moving me out to UNC Wilmington 11 years ago and how it was 10 years ago this very weekend that we moved into our first home here in Wilmington.  We couldn't have picked a better place to live :)

When I saw the clouds roll in... and then heard the thunder... I knew that I had to get a move on picking up litter... just me... no husband and no kids.  

2 of the items that I find the most of... cigarette butts and straws.
So close to the trashcans... which, by the way, were near empty
Typical of our last visit to Access 36, lots of restaurant litter.  But there was more than just restaurant litter... by the looks of it under the pier... it looks like that's where employees like to take their smoke breaks and then use the beach as their ashtray. :(  (After I finish writing this... I'll be contacting Oceanic about the obvious restaurant litter and butt litter.)

But, of course, not all litter is from the restaurant.  Convenience is the name of the game at the beach.  

Convenience products are especially what parents reach for for their children.  One of the most common things that I find at the beach (or even at parks) are juice box straws and the plastic straw wrappers.  Those wrappers were practically made to fly... 

As a parent of 3 young children, I can attest to the fact that kids really love juice boxes.  BUT... I don't buy them for my kids.  (I have several reasons, which is deserving of it's own post)  We have reusable drink containers.  Nothing to throw in the trash and nothing to accidentally get caught by the wind....

In case you're wondering... yes... my kids get to keep all the beach toys that they find while picking up litter on the beach.
Not pictured:  size 8 jeans and some cheap flip flops

20 minutes on August 18, 2010

Litter picked up by weight:  2 lbs 8 oz

Cigarette butts: 215

Total amount of cigarette butts picked up off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 4 days:  1,167