Wednesday, July 20, 2011

week 11 Susan finds little trash at JM PIer

This morning was perfectly picturesque at Wrightsville Beach. 

There was a cool breeze, and for the first time in months, I was able to walk without getting sweaty. It was so refreshing! I also love it when the ocean water feels warmer than the air temperature-- nature's hot tub.
The first thing I noticed upon walking onto the beach at Johnnie Mercer's Pier was six beach chairs, in various states of disrepair, that were all on or near the tide line. Two of them were in the water and slowly being dragged out to sea. I made three trips up to the trash can with them, carrying two at a time.

 A man stood very nearby with his metal detector and watched me but did not offer to help. I did not think this was very nice. So my first thought of the morning was, "this does not bode well for me." But fortunately, I was wrong.
Overall, there was really not much litter at all today. In fact, there was so much less than normal that I am wondering if perhaps someone did a clean sweep yesterday evening to prepare for today's big surf tournament. There were lots of cigarette butts and plastic debris at the high tide line that obviously washed up during the night, but overall the areas that normally have lots of trash were not bad at all today. 

The changing area next to JM Pier, for example, is usually full of clothing, shoes, diapers, fast food bags, etc. It is often just a terrible mess here, so much so that I never include it in my normal beach litter count. But today there was nothing except for two plastic water bottles that had both rolled under the wooden benches.
So really, my walk was quite nice today. I only collected one bag of trash, which consisted primarily of bottle caps and cigarette butts from the tide line. I also filled my reusable bag 1/2 full (equivalent to 2 grocery bags) with recyclables and reusables. This included 2 plastic bottles and 9 aluminum soda/beer cans. 

7 of the cans I actually retrieved from one specific spot. They were all buried in the sand. I noticed the tip of one gleaming in the sun, and when I went to pick it up, the sand under it seemed suspiciously mounded. So I kicked it around and discovered 6 more cans. Other reusables included 12 sand toys and 2 pairs of flip flops.

There was quite a bit of activity on the beach as early as 6 am today, including a very large structure that was being set up for the surfing tournament near access #27. I hope there were no turtle tracks there! Overall, it was fun to see such a flurry of activity there early in the morning. There was definitely a lot of energy and excitement!


Susan Z. Miller
Freelance Writer and Editor

A side note is that the yellow hand digger pictured with the toys above are very helpful for filling in holes.  
Another side note is that I love Susan's picture of the sun and pier---beautiful.

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