Monday, August 18, 2014

"KIC" the disposable plastic habit!

August 18, 2014

Today I walked the beach by myself.  It was a very muggy and hazy morning with the noseeums in full force!  I saw Padrina, another volunteer, at the end of our walk, where zones 3 & 4 meet, and she said the same.  No matter---the sunrise is always beautiful.

The ocean was so calm that it looked like a lake.

It felt like there was a lot of trash today, but when I got home and sorted it, it was about the same amount as usual; thus, I concluded that it only felt like more because I cleaned the zone alone.  :-)  As I've quoted my friend Bonnie before,  "Many hands make light work".

Blockade Runner leaves their lounge chairs stacked on the beach and sometimes that means the late night visitors put them to use.  Beside this chair I found a pair of lacy panties and tie up shoes along with a condom wrapper.  Hmmm…… the beach can be a very romantic spot.

I am just thankful that a sea turtle did not come up to nest as we are all too familiar with the photos of turtles getting trapped in beach furniture that is left on the beach.

Here are my totals for today:
7 cigarette butts
21 food wrappers
7 plastic bottle caps
5 various plastic lids
8 straws/stirrers
1 plastic spoon
1 cigarette lighter
3 pieces of construction material including painters tape, which I have found for the past few weeks.
6 foam pieces
12 various plastic pieces
5 plastic beverage bottles
3 aluminum cans
6 plastic bags (non-grocery)
1 paper bag
4 paper cups
3 plastic cups
1 foam cup
1 potentially deadly 6 pack holder

3 strapping bands (probably from broken beach chairs)
1 tobacco packaging
packaging from 3 condoms, but no condom
6 articles of clothing (panties, shirt, 4 socks)
7 shoes
1 plastic bag for a camping chair
2 chairs
2 ace bandage wraps
3 bandaids
1 pink ribbon
2 plastic zip ties
18 toys

1 baby head band
2 dryer sheets
3 baby wipes
1 dive/snorkel mask
1 plastic netting bag that holds beach toys
1 aluminum rod (from something that broke)
1 broken beach umbrella (b/c if it is broken, you may as well leave it on the beach as you don't want it anymore anyway, right? )

All total, I picked up at least 263 items today.
At the very very very minimal, 53 of those items could have been avoided all together by saying "no thank you" to single use disposable plastic (21 food wrappers, 7 plastic bottle caps, 5 plastic beverage bottles, 6 sandwich type bags, 3 plastic cups, 1 foam cup, 8 straws/stirrers, 1 plastic spoon, 1 six pack holder).

Let's "KIC" the disposable plastic habit!

Peace & Clean Oceans,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Super Moon, Plastic Bottles, & Fireworks!

August 11, 2014

Since it had rained much of the weekend, we thought there would not be much trash.  Man, were we wrong!

We were lucky enough to have another Super Moon and the high tide line had almost reached the dunes on part of the walk.  Sadly, I plucked much of the trash right out of the surf.

There was quite a bit of sargassum that had washed in on the beach and it seemed to have brought plastic bottles with it!  Some of the bottles had barnacles on them, so I knew they had been at sea for a little while.   This concerned me because sargassum is exactly where loggerhead hatchlings hang out; and if plastic is in the sargassum, that means the hatchlings and the plastic are hanging out together---not a good combination.

Today we collected 21 plastic bottles!  Please remember that we are monitoring less than one mile of beach and we collected 21 plastic bottles!

Remember, everything flows down stream towards the ocean.  When items enter the storm drains, they will likely end up in the ocean.
Storm Drain on Pavilion Drive (near Sweet and Savory and Fibbers)

No matter where you live, reducing your disposable plastic consumption will really help the seas.

Our planet is beautiful!  Please Keep It Clean!

Trash we collected today included:
14 cigarette butts
29 food wrappers
16 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
8 plastic lids
25 straws/stirrers
2 plastic cutlery
21 plastic bottles including 1 laundry detergent bottle
1 glass bottle
2 aluminum cans

1 plastic grocery bag
4 other plastic bags
2 plastic cups
1 foam plate
4 balloons (2 mylar and 2 latex)
1 butane lighter
3 pieces of construction material
73 fireworks!

1 plastic fishing lure piece
26 plastic/foam packaging pieces
2 strapping bands
1 chewing tobacco can
1 ink pen
1 shirt
1 kids underwear
4 toys
2 bandaids
3 hair ties
2 plastic tent stakes
3 zip ties
2 chap sticks
1 baby wipe
13 plastic pieces
8 foam pieces (2 were very large with barnacles and long sea moss attached)

We did see a beach bunny.  The last time we saw a beach bunny, it also happened to be during the Super Moon!

Monday, August 11, 2014

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

Friday, July 25

Ginger recently wrote that when she is by the sea, she wishes time would slow down. I read this and thought, yes, that is exactly how I feel! Walking on the beach during sunrise on Friday mornings is one of the best moments of my week. I always wish that time would move just a little bit slower so that I could savor those moments.

The morning of Friday, July 25 was one of those amazing, rapidly changing mornings of weather. I arrived at the beach to this beautiful sunrise, but as mere minutes passed, thick fog (picured here in the distance behind the oystercatchers) rolled in over the beach. By the time I left, about one hour later, the sky was completely gray and the beach was blanketed in clouds and fog.

Most of the litter I picked up was right at the tide line. Some of it, like this broken boogie board, had obviously already spent some time out at sea.

My litter total for the day included:
- 1 styrofoam takeout container (found in two halves in two different places on the beach)
- 1 plastic bait container with lid
- 1 plastic water bottle
- 1 shoe (that my dog was interested in; you can see his nose in the upper left corner)
- 1 chunk of polystyrene
- 1 Capri Sun pouch
- 2 plastic shovels
- 1 can
- 3 straws
- 1 plastic bucket
- 7 cigarette butts
- 1 pair of underwear
- 1 boogie board
- an assortment of small paper and plastic scraps at the bottom of my bag

Friday, August 1

This photo is the only evidence I have of my time at the beach on Friday, August 1. The fiercely blowing wind and rain forced me to walk quickly through my zone, mostly keeping my head down. I did pick up trash that was in my path-- but no litter count today!

Friday, August 8

Fortunately, the following week brought improved conditions. (Although it sure has been awfully rainy lately, hasn't it? I might grow gills.) The sky was mostly covered in clouds, but the sun peeked through at about 7 a.m. 

It was cool enough that I wore a sweatshirt (in August??) as I watched these black skimmers take a little morning dip in the inlet.

My litter total for the day included:
-3 plastic water bottles
- 2 plastic cups
- 3 empty cans
- 1 full beer can
- 1 cookie box
- 1 cigarette box
- 4 cigarette butts
- 1 plastic bag
- 1 cigar package
- 1 underwear waistband (?)
- an assortment of small plastic and paper scraps in the bottom of my bag


Monday, August 4, 2014

"Rain, Rain, Go Away…."

August 4, 2014

When our alarm went off this morning, we could hear the thunder, but we went to the beach anyway!  Why?  Because if there were sea turtle tracks in our zone, I was not going to let a little thunder keep me from finding them!

However, there were no tracks.  And… by the time we got to the beach, there was only a drizzle of a rain, so it was good we went.

It has been raining all weekend, so we did not think we would find much trash today; and therefore, we made the decision to split the zone.  John walked one way and I walked the other.  This makes our task quick and helps us to get to work on time!

We did collect about 1.5 bags of trash as listed at the end of the photos.

“Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away.” 
― Sarah Kay

John leaves only his footprints on the beach as he picks up other people's trash.
Our trash collection today:

2 cigarette butts (there were more, but we were in too much of a hurry to collect all of those)
6 food wrappers
2 lids
5 plastic bottle caps
4 straws/stirrers
1 piece of rope
1 pair of rusted needle nose pliers with plastic grips
2 pieces of foam
3 pieces of plastic
1 burned and melted candle????
4 plastic bottles
3 plastic cups
3 plastic/foam packaging
1 tshirt
2 matching flip flops

Wrightsville Beach has a no smoking ordinance and is the first beach in the state with this type of policy.  The ordinance and the placement of signs has helped decrease the cigarette butts on our beach.  However, I have noticed an increase in the cigarette butt litter lately.  That makes me think that enforcement or education about the ordinance may have decreased.  Let's keep our beach clean and educate the public about our "no smoking" policy.

Far and away, the greatest threat to the ocean, and thus to ourselves, is ignorance. But we can do something about that.

Monday, July 28, 2014

11*11 Make a Wish

July 28, 2014

If you know me personally, you may know that my favorite numbers are sequences of ones: 11, 111, 1111.

We adopted our dog, Gigi (who is often featured on the blog) on 11/1, solely by coincidence (or was it?).  There is a lot more to that story that features 111, but I won't go into it here.

I often look at the clock at 11:11--don't ask me why; it just happens that way.   It is not intentional.

I notice sequences of ones everywhere.  So, of course I started searching for the meaning.  I learned that many believe 11:11 is the perfect time to put positive thoughts into the universe.   Some also believe that if you notice sequences of ones, it is a reminder to watch your thoughts and to be positive.

Last year, on the day before one of our turtle patrol walks, I had a strong feeling that John and I were going to find a nest.   I even mentioned it to Nancy, my friend and our project coordinator.  Guess what?  We did find a nest and it was nest number 1 on WB and nest 11 in the state. (111)!

This year, WB has one nest thus far and it is again nest number 1 for WB and nest 11 for the state.

I can't explain any of this; I just know I love those numbers.

So, imagine my surprise during our walk this morning when John said, "Look at her shirt". (see photo)

So, I made a wish, like the shirt says.  Actually, I made two.  I wished for another sea turtle nest on WB this year; and I wished for everyone to become aware of the importance of keeping our Ocean clean.

We didn't actually find a lot of big trash items this morning; it was more of the stuff that just kind of gets  away from you and blows in the wind.  However, we still picked up 197 pieces of trash (listed at the bottom of the sunrise pics).

Some people ask, "Why do you do this?".  My response is, "Why wouldn't I?"

Please enjoy the views from the shore this morning!

Here are our items:
16 cigarette butts
14 plastic bottle caps
2 metal bottle caps
3 plastic lids
22 straws/stirrers
1 fishing bob with hook
1 balloon piece
1 piece of painter's tape
7 fireworks
10 foam pieces
1 piece of green sea glass
14 plastic pieces
21 paper pieces
2 plastic bottles
4 aluminum cans
3 ziplock bags
4 plastic cups (1 of which I raced to fish out of the incoming surf.  I saw it from a distance being blown down the beach and eventually into the surf)

34 packaging items (including 18 plastic sleeves for kids' juice pouch straws)
1 sunscreen tube
1 small plastic bottle for bubbles
3 strapping bands
2 baby wipes
1 diaper
1 unopened pack of Motrin
2 bandaids
1 sock
1 hat
10 toys
4 shoes
6 hair ties
2 rubber bands
2 plastic zipties

I wish you a clean Ocean!