Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 4: John and Ginger find many interesting things in zone 4

This was an interesting Memorial Day walk for John and I.  Since John did not have to work we took our time on the beach this morning.  When we first got out there, John said, "For Memorial Day, the trash does not seem so bad."

 This led to a conversation about an editorial I had read in Lumina News in which it was mentioned that the police department had been writing more tickets for littering and dogs on the beach.  I wondered if this was the reason for less trash.  I have always said that enforcement of a law is easy if you write a few tickets, because then word of mouth will spread.  I'm not sure if I am right, but I believe it and when I have spoken with towns in California that have passed a "no smoking" ordinance on their beach strands, they have said this very same thing.  Word of mouth and positive peer pressure have kept their beaches clean.  In fact, our friend, Danielle Richardet and her friend, Sara Bayles is doing a comparison of 20 minute beach clean ups.  Sara picks up trash in Santa Monica, which is a smoke free beach and Danielle picks up trash at WB.  They each pick up for 20 minutes and then count the number of cigarette butts they found.  Here are the results:  24 clean ups in Santa Monica, CA = 179 butts;  19 clean ups in Wrightsville Beach, NC = 4, 278 butts.  Wow! The numbers speak for themselves.

Speaking of trash and cigarette butts, John and I collected 7 bags of trash even though we at first thought the beach was clean.

Our trash included, but was not limited to:
38 cigarette butts
We saw several piles like this where people obviously thought the beach was an ash tray and did not realize or  maybe did not care that cigarette butts are litter that contain plastic filters that never biodegrade.

17 bottle caps
2 plastic bags
1 chair

12 toys
16 plastic bottles
8 aluminum cans
1 glass bottle
5 plastic cups
1 ziplock bag

5 articles of clothing (including another baseball hat bill without the rest of the hat or fabric.  I have never seen these before and already this year, I have collected two in as many weeks.  The bills are made of plastic which will never biodegrade---I had never thought about that before!)

1 shoe (which was my size, but there was no match!  It was a silver sandal too---I felt like Cinderella)

1 solid brass cigarette lighter engraved for Lt. J. Miller (if you know him, let us know---we will return it.)

20 straws
2 towels

3 balloons and strings (2 of which were all wrapped up in Sargassum.   The sad story about that is that Sargassum is the home to lots of marine animals including sea turtle hatchlings.  The sea turtle hatchlings and other animals will live off the food and nutrients that they find in the Sargassum.  Sadly, if balloons and other litter are a part of this Sargassum, then marine animals will ingest this and can become sick and die.)

As I was sorting the trash today, I piled some of the snack bags and took a photo.  I don't usually keep snack bags because they smell too bad, usually have ants on them, and are just too yucky.  However, I thought it was worth a picture.  It is noteworthy how much of our food (and everything) comes in such disposable packaging that ends up in our environment as litter.

We also found lots of interesting marine life that had washed up on shore, none of which were alive.  We found one Puffer Fish (at least that is what John said it was)

and one Portuguese Man O' War.  I was very careful to not touch him.

and one beautiful mosaic seashell Sea Turtle

Later in the day we took our boat from WB to CB.  Along the way, we scooped 3 types of plastic bags out of the waterway, 1 styrofoam cup and 1 plastic bottle.

We also saw lots of people having fun and displaying some beautiful kites.

1 comment:

  1. WHOA... puffer fish and man o' war on WB?!? wow.

    Wanted to tell you that we were talking to a lifeguard on Thursday and we were told that the previous weekend the police wrote 170 citations!! They are absolutely on the beach enforcing laws and that makes me VERY happy! :)