Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Daily Ocean: Day 167

While much of the East Coast was preparing for or already in the midst of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, I was going about a normal Monday.  I'm not sure I can say it enough how extremely grateful I am that where I live was minimally impacted by the hurricane.  Besides the large amount of wrack and sea shells at Wrightsville Beach, not much looks different.
At first glance, the beach seems perfectly clean.  Almost as if it's been swept.  But on closer inspection... you see it.  The wrack is littered with the detritus of man....

There's an amazing phenomenon that happens during strong tropical storm systems (even if they are off-shore).  The ocean comes in and she pulls and pushes the sand... reshaping the beach... and in the process like a giant sifter she uncovers the things that had been lost and eventually (most often accidentally) buried in the sand.  Those things-- plastic caps, straws, cigarette butts, plastic fragments, toys-- all end up in the wrack.
If you have ever for one second doubted the extent of the amount of plastics in our environment, I highly encourage you to go to the beach and look closer.  Kick over that pile of wrack... look for the glisten of a plastic wrapper half buried in the sand... focus your eyes to see the cigarette butts camouflaged amongst the natural world... it's all there.
Want to do something about it?  Join me at Wrightsville Beach or do your own beach/park/waterway cleanup.  And maybe most important of all... please refuse single-use plastics.

20 minutes on October 29, 2012 at Access 16
Litter by weight: 1 lb
Cigarette butts: 386
Straws: 12
Caps: 55
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 167 days:
52,768