Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day 5

Yesterday, before heading to the beach, the kids and I made a trip to the Teacher's Aid store to pick up a few things that we need for school.  After I made my purchases, I said no thanks to a plastic bag and the lady checking me out said, "And the environment thanks you."  I told her that we were on our way to the beach to pick up cigarette butts.  She went on to tell me that she always puts her butts in the trash and never throws them out her car window.  Then through talking I told her what the filters are made of... plastic... NOT cotton.... another person who had no idea.

I decided that we needed to move our way up the beach.... and there's no better place to go than Johnny Mercer's Pier:

Over the weekend, my husband and I went to the Jack Johnson concert in Raleigh, NC.  Before the show started we spent some time in the Village Green.  There were local (NC) non-profits and when we stopped by the Surfrider booth... I was greeted with a "Hey...".  Turns out I (yes, me) was recognized.  Adam, from our local (Cape Fear) Surfrider, found my blog on Facebook and has shared what I am doing with the WB Litter Committee.... which I am extremely grateful for, because it helps me realize even more that what I'm doing and attempting to help do is so important.  So while I was talking with Adam, he told me that my blog couldn't have come at a better time... why???  Because there have been people saying that the cigarette butt litter isn't that bad.  WHAT?!?   His thought is that they're driving by in trucks or on 4-wheelers... and I agree... because if they walked... they would surely see what I am seeing:

Yeah... that's a shoe print right next to that butt. 

But the thing is... sometimes even while walking... cigarette butts are hard to see.  Their coloring blends in perfectly with the sand and shells. 

And often looks like something completely natural:

Cigar is on the left... with a butt to the middle right.
And so many plastics are near invisible... like the juice box straw wrapper... found here next to a cigarette butt.....
The wrapper is to the left and up from the butt.
I have been having this thought lately that if all plastic was a bright color like red or neon orange... no tans, no whites, no clear... that it'd be so much easier to spot.... maybe wildlife wouldn't mistake it for something natural... and the amount of litter (including cigarette butts) would be so much more obvious...

Even the blue plastic bottle cap is more obvious than the white cigarette butt filter.  
This plastic bag almost made it to the ocean.... did you know that CA is working on banning plastic carryout bags?

The other night, I was reading The Daily Ocean... and Sara wrote about feeling self-conscious picking up litter around people's towels and such... and as I was reading it I was shaking my head in agreement because I have always felt the same way.  But there's a benefit to picking up litter right next to people and I was reminded of that as I was picking up litter at Access 16... three people commented and asked questions about what I was doing.  YAY!!  It was another opportunity for me to educate... and get reassurance that I'm helping to make a difference.

High 5's are much appreciated... especially on day 5!!! :D   

20 minutes on August 25, 2010

Litter picked up by weight: 1 lb 1 oz

Cigarette Butts:  235
Total amount of cigarette butts picked up off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 5 days: