Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 57

Before I started doing 20 minute clean ups, I thought that all of the litter we found on Wrightsville Beach during organized beach clean ups-- such as Surfrider and Big Sweep-- had accumulated over time.  Unfortunately, that's not the case.
Classic... using the beach as an ashtray. :(
Everyday our world is being trashed... and I just can't wrap my brain around the "why".... I don't understand how people can be so careless... and as we picked up over 6 lbs of litter husband said, "At what point do people say, 'Aww.... f*@k it.  Just leave it.'??"

Admittedly, I've been longing for warmer weather.... and Wednesday we got it.  86˚F and it couldn't have been more beautiful.  But now that beach season is here... it means more people flocking to Wrightsville Beach.  More people = more litter.  *sigh*  

In 20 minutes at Access 36 (our adopted beach access and home of the oceanfront restaurant Oceanic), we picked up 14 plastic straws.  I've talked to Oceanic about not using plastic straws (and other plastics) on the pier.  What I never thought about was them switching to paper straws or offering an upgrade to a glass straw.  Oceanic is one of the restaurants that I'll be writing to to participate in Glass Dharma's Earth Day Initiative.  Read about the initiative on my blog here or go here(oh yeah, thanks to Beth Terry....I've finally added a letter to my blogpost... so if you need a little inspiration to get you started, please feel free to personalize my letter to make it your own!!)  

As we were picking up litter around Crystal Pier... my husband looked north (from Oceanic) and saw a huge mess in the grasses.  All sorts of plastics from straws to styrofoam had blown from the pier and had found a resting place in the beach grasses.  It was absolutely disgusting.  My husband said, "Don't pick that up.  I'm going to get a manager."  With that he was up on the pier speaking to a manager about using plastics on the pier dining area and the responsibility that Oceanic has to clean up their mess.  Moments later, the manager had a guy picking up litter.
What you can't see in this photo is all of the cracker wrappers, cigarette butts, straws, sugar packets, candy wrappers, etc.
You know what I find interesting about THIS photo???
The blue trash can in the background.  So close.  Chances are the person passed it when they left the beach... but they didn't bother to take their trash with them.  :'(

20 minutes on April 20, 2011 at Access 36

Litter by weight: 6 lbs 11.1 oz (yes... this is a record)
Cigarette butts: 208
If this is what 20 minutes on a weekday looks like in the spring... what is 20 minutes on a summer weekend going to look like??
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 57 days: