Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 83

With the swell coming in on Thursday evening, the beach... err... the ocean was full of surfers.  The weather was perfect... still warm from the day... and the ocean rolling with full waves was even better.

  During our 20 minute clean up, I couldn't help but notice that the majority of cigarette butts were wet.  Of course, wet cigarette butts make me think about the toxins that are released as soon as the littered butt hits the water... :(
The other day, my aunt called me to tell me about a boat cruise they went on in Lake Okoboji.  She was so frustrated because when they stopped to go for a swim, she saw smokers throw their cigarette butts in the lake!!  BUT... good news!  My aunt took the time to write the company that did the cruise.  Here's a bit of what she had to say:  

"Cigarette butts are made of plastic and are not biodegradable. The filter is designed to trap toxins so when it hits the water, those toxins are released into the water. Which also means that they are no friend to the fish swimming below the surface. If you could PLEASE have ashtrays available and let riders know that if they have to smoke, not to throw them overboard. Thank you."

I'm happy to report that my aunt received an email from the company letting her know that they were "appalled that passengers would think it is okay to throw ANY type of trash into the Lake" and the issue was going to be addressed immediately.  (YAY!!!) 
My aunt isn't the only one paying attention to the cigarette butt litter problem.  Daedra of Strawesome did a 20 minute beach clean up at Lake Michigan and picked up a pile of litter that included bottle caps, straws and over 300 cigarette butts!  She writes:

"It was actually hard to stop picking them [cigarette butts] up because they were everywhere, but my back hurt so I had to stop.
I forwarded my findings to the park office and requested they install cigarette butt collection receptacles. If you saw piles of 300 cigarette butts on the beach you’d be grossed out, right? So, why is it ok when they’re spread out all over the land? It’s not!"
YES!!  Since I've picked up over 25,000 (yup! milestone!!).... I completely agree!!  High 5 to Daedra!!  Check out her entire post:  Just Beachy
Soooo... have you ever wondered what over 25,000 cigarette butts looked like?? (ok, me neither) But here they are...  25,180 cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC.  Thank you thank you thank you to all of my family and friends who have joined us out at WB and helped remove all this nastiness from the beach...

20 minutes on August 4, 2011 at Access 25
Cigarette butts: 294
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 83 days: