Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day 11

On Saturday, my husband, three children and I headed out to Wrightsville Beach for yet another 20 minute beach clean-up... after not being able to find a parking spot at the access I really wanted to go to... we settled on Access 20:

Let me just say... I thoroughly believe that everything happens for a reason... we were supposed to go to Access 20.  I, obviously, had no idea how popular of an access it really is... but just looking at the trashcan there (overflowing) and looking at the other trashcans just a couple of accesses down (near empty)... it was obvious that Access 20 is a pretty popular hang out spot.  One trashcan doesn't seem to be enough for Access 20.

Look at all of those recyclables AND Lid? Lid??  Where's the lid??  Sara asks that same question often on The Daily Ocean.
It didn't take long for us to start finding cigarette butts... I think that our eyes are becoming trained to see the butts camouflaged in the sand.  While picking up some butts, some men told me thank you and then looked around and picked up the butts that they saw around them and added them to my bucket :D

The tide was going out and my husband and daughter found a patch of cigarette butts just like the 10x10 area that I came across on Day 10... a whole section of hundreds of butts.  But there wasn't just one section... there were patches all along the beach where we just sat down and scooped up butts by the handfuls.  Move all the sticks and grasses we found more butts underneath... running my fingers through the sand... even more.
There were so many patches of these cigarette butt "gold mines" that we split up to take them on.  As my husband was walking he passed by a bunch of "college"(??) guys.  My husband noticed one smoking and at his feet were a bunch of butts stuck into the sand.  My husband says to him:  "Hey man, you're not going to leave those there are you?"  And the guy replies, "Oh, no man, I'll take them with me... I was going to get them."  With that, my husband puts the butts in the guy's hand and says thanks.  (Yes, my husband ROCKS!!)

When I first started this whole collecting cigarette butt thing... I really just wanted to help bring more awareness to the problem of cigarette butt litter/pollution on my local beach with the hopes of helping to get a smoking ban passed. What I didn't expect was how bad the problem really is.  When I say that "we were supposed to go to Access 20"... I say that because for the first time since we started this, my kids were running to the buckets with handfuls of butts instead of just a few.  We sent our kids off with their own bucket and all 3 of our buckets were overflowing.  There were SO many butts that had we not had a time limit... there would have been no end in sight... it makes me sad.

BUT... even though I'm sad... I'm happy because I'm doing something about it.... I don't feel helpless about this issue.  AND... I want to do MORE... the other night, with inspiration given to me back at the beginning of this project from my good friend (Tracy you're my personal psychic ;) !!)....I entered the Brita FilterforGood Film Project.  Check out my entry here and voting begins on October 11!!

20*minutes on September 19, 2010

Litter picked up by weight:  3 lbs 7 oz

Cigarette butts: 1,833  (I didn't have time to be shocked by this number...I saw the buckets... I knew it was going to be a big number.  I keep saying to myself that I need a day where we just find 200... and I think that's a pretty sad thought... because 200 still sucks.)

Total amount of cigarette butts picked up off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 11 days:

*My kids were sitting in a huge pile of cigarette butts when I said, "Time's up."  They looked up at me and said, "But MOM... we can't leave these here.  There's hundreds"  They were right.  I let them finish the section they were at... which took a little over 5 minutes longer.