Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day 19

Before we made our way to Wrightsville Beach, yesterday afternoon, we made a quick stop at the library.  I'll go ahead and let you in on something...the amount of littered butts at my local library almost made me skip the beach and do a clean-up right there.  Littered butts on our roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, etc... will eventually make it to the beach... it seemed strange that I was leaving that mess to go search for another.  I think I'm going to start doing "The Daily Parking Lot"... hmmm.

Throughout these past 19 days, I've been pretty sporadic about my access choices.  Preferring to let others (or available parking) choose where we go... this time... I let my boys choose ;)

I was happy that my boys unanimously chose Access 20.  Last time we were there on September 19, we picked up a ridiculous amount of cigarette butts and I was curious to see if there would be a significant difference in the amount of butts that we would find. (There was.)  When we walked onto the beach... it was absolutely gorgeous... the large tidal pool stretched the length of the beach.... and typical of every time I've been to the beach off-season... it made me long for summer....
But, of course, I got to thinking about summer... and how many more people are at the beach... how much less "trash" we are finding....thinking about my kids playing... thinking about the 6,346 cigarette butts that we picked up in just 12 days off of Wrightsville Beach from August 9 to September 24.  
It is off-season at Wrightsville Beach... free parking and dogs are free to be on the beach!!  YAY!!  (kind of)  Here's something to think about... 

Pet waste is nasty stuff... I think it's rad to see dogs at the beach... but no one likes  to look at that mess... besides... it's an environmental hazard-- fecal coliform anyone???  Yeah, me neither.  Dispose of pet waste properly... please.

Pet waste isn't the only thing on the beach that poses an environmental hazard....

"Cigarette butts can leach chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an hour of contact with water." 

Studies conducted by Clean Virginia Waterways show that the chemicals in cigarette butts easily leach out of the butts, and are deadly to water fleas. The evidence indicates that the toxic chemicals leached from discarded cigarette butts present a biohazard to the water flea at concentrations of more than 0.125 butts per liter, or about one butt per two gallons of water

Which gets me thinking about the experiment that Harry who writes The Flotsam Diaries blog is doing... and about the experiment that Mark-- who's helping keep butts of the ground and saving fish with The Bait Tanks-- did.... hmmm... I think I might start an experiment of my own.... 
20 minutes on November 10, 2010

Amount of litter picked up by weight: 6.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 167

Yeah... the lighting was harsh... and there's a pair of black tights covering a bit of the pile.  The container is on it's way to being filled with butts... before adding today's butts it had 832.

Total amount of cigarette butts picked up off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 19 days: