Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 59

On Friday, as we walked onto Wrightsville Beach... we, once again, couldn't believe how trashed the beach was.  In every direction, we could see litter strewn across the sand.
And as we walked stepped, grabbed, stepped, grabbed through the aftermath of what could only be described as the leftovers of an all day party.... we kept asking ourselves:  Why?  Why do people just leave their trash on the beach?  Why do they think it's ok??

I, recently, read an article about the record number of trash removed from New Jersey beaches.  In 2010, 475,321 pieces of litter were removed from the state's 127-mile shoreline.  45,903 were cigarette filters. So... the question begs to be answered.  "Why????"

In a 2009 study done by Keep America Beautiful, they found that "litter begets litter."  It's a simple fact, that the chances of people littering are much more likely in an already littered environment.  Litter attracts MORE litter.

So... that one wrapper that got away... that one plastic water bottle that got misplaced... that dropped bottle cap.... that one cigarette butt that got flicked.... they're all open invitations for other people to do the same...
Then... once the litter is in place attracting MORE litter.  Something happens.  Suddenly, people believe it's not their responsibility to pick it up.  Someone else will pick it up.  Who?  Maybe they think someone is paid to pick up after them?  Maybe the litterbugs at Wrightsville Beach need to meet my three children.  Maybe they need to meet the volunteers of the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project.  Maybe they need to meet the members of Surfrider... and the other countless volunteers that spend their time picking up the trash left behind by other people.
Maybe it's time to walk Wrightsville Beach with photos of what 20 minutes of picking up litter on Wrightsville Beach looks like??  Maybe then... people will begin to understand that one simple thing adds up to more... and the more keeps growing.  Of course, that simple thing can be negative (littering) or positive (not littering/picking it up).  What are YOU growing??
20 minutes on April 29, 2010 at Access 29

Litter by weight: 5 lbs 8.6 oz 
Cigarette butts: 279

A "fish" swimming in a sea of 279 cigarette butts.  "Save Fish.  Feed The Bait Tank butts."
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 59 days: