Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 190

Every Monday morning as the sun is rising, my friend Ginger walks a section of Wrightsville Beach looking for turtle tracks and picking up trash along her path.  She has been walking the same stretch of sand for the past 4 years... and on that particular stretch of sand is my family's adopted beach access 36.  On Monday morning just hours after Ginger, I did my 190th beach clean up... 

One may think that it's silly to do a beach clean up where someone else has already been... but the truth of the matter is that no one person can do everything.  Chances are even the most thorough person is going to miss something... depending on the light certain plastics become completely invisible in the sand.  ... or... because this is unfortunately the way it is.... chances are in such a short amount of time, something will be littered.
As much time and energy that I put into doing beach clean ups... I know that beach cleanups are not the answer to the litter problem.  They're only part of the answer.  Doing any type of cleanup is super important... especially when we take the time to connect our own purchasing habits with the products that we find littered.  We can become conscious consumers just by cleaning up our world.  Maybe we're not all going to try to make our own potato chips (yeah, I did that)... but what we can all do is choose the largest bag of chips and use a reusable container instead of a ziplock, use a reusable water bottle, refuse single-use bags, say "no straw please"... 

Every time we buy something, we're casting our votes for the kind of world we want to live in.  

20 minutes on June 17, 2013 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 2 lbs 7.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 33
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 190 days:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 189

The beach is a gateway to the ocean... and while large items such as plastic bottles, buckets, cups and such are easy to spot... the tiny plastic fragments, the clear wrappers, the shredded straws, and things like hair clips go completely unnoticed.  That is until we really open our eyes and start looking... and keep looking... 

What seems like such a long time ago now, my friend Bonnie of The Plastic Ocean Project said:

"...the problem with plastics in our marine environment goes unnoticed because most of it is underwater or broken down into small bits floating on the surface. Not that it takes a trained eye to see it; you just have to recognize that it’s there. Once you do, it likens to the "Magic Eyes" from the 90s. Remember staring at a random series of blotches until an image imbedded in the blotches could be recognized? Once your eyes discovered it, you could always see it. And you wondered why you hadn't noticed at first glance."

Her words have stuck with me throughout all of my beach cleanups.  A reminder of the importance to let my eyes focus on the variations in the sand... to pay attention to the details.

20 minutes on June 11, 2013 at Access 28
Litter by weight: 2 lbs
Cigarette butts: 20
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 189 days: