Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our Daily Ocean: Day 129

Whenever I am going to meet someone at the beach to do a 20 minute clean up... I almost always have them meet me at Johnnie Mercer's Pier.  While there is always litter on the beach, it is there where the problem is most clear (no matter the time of year).  In an effort to raise awareness and have others see for themselves just how bad the cigarette litter problem is at WB, I invite anyone to come do a 20 minute beach clean up with us.  I'm most often joined by friends, but sometimes... I meet new people and make new friends all because of our 20 minute beach clean ups.  ...and yesterday, was a prime example of that ;)

Last night, Ben Bourgeois joined us at Wrightsville Beach to do a 20 minute clean up!  Ben (aka Benny B) is a pro-surfer and WB native that I reached out to (thanks friends!) during the voting of my Brita FilterForGood Film.  As the public hearing for the proposed smoke-free ordinance on WB was approaching, I once again reached out to him for support.  You know what's AWESOME?  Ben immediately jumped on board to help.  In fact, he's gone above and beyond anything I could have ever expected.  Last week, (less than a week since the smoking ban failed) Ben took 20 minutes at Oceanside Beach, CA and picked up cigarette butts. There he got 42.  Last night, at WB he picked up 158.  Problem?  (I'll leave that for you to decide)
Ben loves Wrightsville Beach... and being that he's traveled all over the world and can come home and say that Wrightsville Beach is still his favorite (and one of the most beautiful) beaches in the world... is a pretty amazing compliment for WB.  As Ben travels, he's going to try to do a 20 minute clean up at the beaches he visits to compare to WB!  He is all about helping raise awareness and I'm totally digging that!  
Photo credit: Ben Bourgeois 
Speaking of raising awareness... my friend Sara did a 20 minute beach clean up in Santa Monica last night.  Her beach was so trashed that she picked up over 7 lbs of litter... but get this.... in the same amount of time that we picked up 218 cigarette butts and Ben picked up 158 at Wrightsville Beach... Sara picked up 2 in Santa Monica (a smoke-free beach).  TWO.  Two cigarette butts in 20 minutes.  So far Sara and I have both done six 20-minute comparative beach clean ups.  Question: Do smoke-free beaches work to help reduce the amount of cigarette litter left on beaches?? 

6 clean ups Wrightsville Beach: 1,484
6 clean ups Santa Monica: 75

It sure looks that way.

20 minutes on March 23, 2012 at Access 16
Cigarette butts: 218
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 129 days: