Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our Daily Ocean Community: Ginger and Sarah

Not long after I started doing the 20-minute beach clean-ups at Wrightsville Beach that were inspired by my friend Sara who writes The Daily Ocean, I realized the impact of what 20 minutes could do... not just for our beaches, but for our community.  The power to create change in just 20 minutes... is something that I never would have thought of had I not met Sara.  After posting our 7th day picking up litter, Ginger of The Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project posted this: 

"It starts with me!
I have highlighted Danielle's blog several times in this newsletter and yet I feel compelled to do so again. I am so impressed and inspired by her dedication to clean litter from Wrightsville Beach that I am thinking about joining her. Why not pick up cigarette butts for 20 minutes a day, two days a week?"

Why not!?  I loved it... and I got excited about the idea!!!  Over the weekend, Ginger and her husband went to Access 32 at Wrightsville Beach and collected 1 lb 7.3 oz of various litter* including 142 cigarette butts, 20 bottle caps 2 balloons and many other pieces of trash.  (*The litter weight is being added to The Daily Ocean Community Collection).  

Then at the other end of the beach, my friend Sarah visited Accesses 16 and 17.  Sarah didn't go to the beach to pick up trash... she went there with her family and decided to take 20 minutes and pick up litter at the beach.  Unlike Ginger, Sara is new to picking up litter on the beach.  Her first impression of picking up litter at the beach?  "I was shocked at how much there was and how much I got in such a short time."  

Sarah sent me her thoughts and observations about picking up litter and counting butts.  Here's what she has to say:

"I was surprised at how nice people were and several beachgoers actually thanked me and wanted to know why I was doing it.  My kids also got into the spirit and once I told them that plastic harmed sea turtles, they were off.  AND I think they are forever cured of smoking-- they think cig butts are the nastiest thing on the planet. 

Here are a couple of other observations I had.  The recycle bins by access 16 at the pier were pretty well used.  The trash bins really only had nonrecyclable stuff in them like broken chairs and umbrellas.  The cans by accesses 17 and 18 were FULL of plastic and cans.  Could WB put recycle bins at all the accesses?  I know the initial cost to put them up would be something, but they are well used at the entrance by the pier and this should show it is worth it.  Also, why do people think burying plastic straws and straw wrappers is disposal?  I think they thought if it did not blow away that it wasn't littering. (It IS!!)  We found lots of straws stuck down into the sand too.  i just am not sure where people's heads are.  
Are they just unaware or do they really not care?

The cigarette butt total from Access 16 was 211 and from Access 17 was 218.  

I think it would have been higher if I had been able to get between all the people.  Next time I want to go later in the evening after more people have left.... 
I am totally inspired to go again soon."

That totally made me smile :D  Inspired by Ginger and Sarah... I've added "The Community Butt Count" to the sidebar.  Check it out... ;)