Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 196

On August 9, 2010... my kids and I went to access 43 to do our very first 20 minute beach cleanup at Wrightsville Beach.  I felt such a strong pull to start this project of documenting, collecting weighing and tallying that as soon as I started... I knew that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.

I said to myself: "I am going to help fix the cigarette litter problem on Wrightsville Beach."

That first clean up, we picked up 346 cigarette butts and put them in a plastic jug.
Every year on August 9, I head back to Wrightsville Beach access 43.  I love the feeling of being connected to where this all started.  As much as the beach has been reshaped over the course of this project, so have I.  Without going into the myriad of things that have happened over the past 3 years, let me just say that amazing things happen when you expand your comfort zone.

As this year is the first year of the smoke-free beach ordinance, I was super excited to do my "Anniversary Beach Cleanup".  One of the greatest things about documenting the number of cigarette butts picked up in 20 minutes since 2010 is that I have data to make comparisons.

Different year, same date (August 9), same access (Access 43).

2010: 346
2011: 378
2012: 172
2013: 47
Now one thing that I will never claim to be is a math wiz... but thanks to my googling abilities, I'm able to figure out that comparing 2010's cleanup to 2013 that's a decrease of 86%.  Or comparing more recently 2012 to 2013 (both years have part of the beach closed for shore-bird nesting), that's a 73% reduction in cigarette litter!!!!  I'm just thrilled.  Absolutely thrilled.

Once upon a time, there was a mom who believed she could make a difference.  And she did... but she didn't do it alone.

20 minutes on August 9, 2013 at Access 43
Litter by weight: 13.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 47
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 196 beach cleanups: