Monday, June 30, 2014

Balloons---Don't let them go!

June 30, 2014

I've been working with Bonnie Monteleone of the Plastic Ocean Project on a poster display for our sea turtle sculpture that is currently on hanging at The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Surf City.  (The sea turtle is made of trash that was picked up by KIC volunteers.)

Part of the poster focuses on sea turtles and balloons.  KIC has educated about balloons for years.  We know they are dangerous for the environment and specifically for sea turtles because they can resemble food when they (balloons) are in the ocean.  While doing tours at the hospital, I often tell kids about the sea turtles who have defecated balloons while being a patient at the sea turtle hospital.  I also remind kids that releasing balloons is actually the same as littering.  I hate to be a kill joy, but when you know, you change your ways, right?  I have certainly changed mine.

KIC has also educated about the entanglement issues with the balloons strings and ribbons.  Here is a photo from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that explains just how hazardous these strings can be to wildlife.

So…. you can imagine how frustrating I have been to have found balloons during every sea turtle nesting patrol I have done this season.  It is also frustrating to know that KIC volunteers have removed 54 balloons from Wrightsville Beach in less than two months and nearby Atlantic Beach has removed 194!

I found 4 balloons today.  The one pictured here actually had a light inside.  I'm sure that makes the balloons very "pretty" and "attractive" for those who are releasing them.  But, the balloon does not have the same effect once it has burst and has landed in our beautiful environment.

balloon on WB

Discovering that the same balloon has a light inside.  The light was still burning.
On one section of my patrol, I thought I saw a plastic bag in the dunes, but when I went to retrieve it, I found it was a mylar balloon. The balloon had been in the environment long enough for all of the color to be faded or washed away.  This would surely look like a jelly fish in the ocean to a sea turtle. 

Now that I have ranted about balloons, I have to say the beach was very pleasant this morning.  We found little trash and that is always nice.  It was low tide, so I am concerned that the trash may have been swept away during the high tide.  Nevertheless, it was a beautiful morning.

Here is the inventory of finds:

26 butts
26 food wrappers
15 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
4 plastic lids
19 straws/stirrers
1 plastic spoon
6 plastic bottles
2 glass bottles
1 aluminum can
1 plastic grocery bag
3 other plastic bags
1 paper cup
2 foam cups
1 foam packaging
1 strapping band
2 tobacco packaging  
1 condom wrapper
2 baby wipes
2 dryer sheets
19 toys/pieces of toys
You may leave your sand castle, but please take your plastic one home with you.

4 balloons
1 piece of duct tape
1 rubber band
6 plastic zip ties
6 foam pieces
23 plastic pieces
43 paper pieces
1 chapstick
1 ace bandage
3 shoes
1 plastic lei
3 clothing chords (drawstring like)

Watching the sun rise over the ocean never gets old!

Our zone ends at Crystal Pier and it is always a great photo op.  
We love that Crystal Pier has placed a board at the bottom of their dining deck rail this year that further prevents straws, sugar packets, napkins, etc. from blowing off.  It has been much cleaner under and around the pier this year.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Small amounts of litter in zone 0

Friday, June 20

June 20 in zone 0 was an utterly picture-perfect day. Pelicans, gray herons and egrets all flew about, fishing for their breakfasts while crabs skittered toward the tide line. Beautiful.

 As I walked further north toward the end of the inlet, I felt really shocked by the state of the beach. With a combination of the low tide and the new sand from the recent renourishment project, there was a huge expanse of sand to walk on. These photos below were taken as I walked out toward the ocean and turned around to look at the beach strand. That is Shell Island Resort in the distance.

I thought that the expanse of beach would reveal a large amount of litter, but it really didn't. In fact, I found a pretty impressively small amount of garbage. My litter total for the day included:

-1 zip tie
-1 broken pair of sunglasses
-1 lighter
-1 straw
-2 bar admittance bracelets
-1 pair earplugs
-4 hair ties
-1 granola bar wrapper
-2 paper towels
-1 water bottle
-1 kitchen towel
-3 plastic bags
-1 ziplock bag
-1 pair goggles
-1 plastic bait lid
-1 plastic toy Indian
-2 cigarette butts

Friday, June 27

My husband Jeff joined me for early-morning trash pickup on June 27. We were both impressed by the glorious and very photogenic sunrise.

There was an unusually large amount of action on the beach for 6 a.m., including many paddle boarders, people illegally walking dogs, and lots of evidence of bird and crab activity. I also noticed that the north end nesting sea bird sanctuary is clearly marked and roped off for the first time this year, so I was relieved and happy to see that.

 My litter total for the day included:

-1 shoe
- 1 plastic cup
- 1 plastic water bottle
- 2 straws
- 4 cigarette butts
- 1 Yoo hoo box
- 1 headband
- 4 plastic food/snack wrappers
- 2 plastic bottle caps
-1 Lifesaver candy in plastic



Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Many hands make light work."

June 23, 2014

John and I were pleasantly surprised this morning in zone 4.  We only picked up the equivalent of 1 bag each.  That is pretty much unheard of for us on Monday mornings in zone 4, especially since the weekend was so nice!

Later in the day, one of John's friends told him that he and his wife had gone to the beach on Sunday evening and cleaned up in our zone!  Ha!  Now, we know!  But hey, we will take a clean beach any way we can get it!  Thanks friends for your helping hands!  My friend, Bonnie Monteleone says:  "many hands make light work".

Here is what we collected:

2 very large deflated plastic floats at the water's edge.  John took them to the trash.
22 cig butts
39 food wrappers
15 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
6 plastic lids
16 straws/stirrers
7 pieces of red wax from mini Babel cheese
2 plastic bottles
1 suntan bottle
2 aluminum cans
2 ziplock bags
1 grocery bag
3 plastic cups
1 piece of plastic fishing lure
1 orange balloon
1 cigarette lighter
1 cigarette plastic packaging
9 construction pieces (7 zip ties, 1 orange netting and 1 yellow caution tape)

2 fireworks
7 foam pieces
26 plastic pieces
27 paper pieces
1 plastic packaging
3 pieces of strapping bands
2 articles of clothing
Hppiness is a clean beach.

1 small microfiber towel
4 toys or pieces of toys
sand pail handle left on beach

1 chapstick
3 bandaids
1 braided hair extension
Kahuna plays with hair extension.  He is up for adoption.

2 gift ribbons
4 pieces of rope
2 swim goggles
1 snorkel
1 silica gel pack
1 red crayon

Even though, it seemed we did not get a lot of trash, it was still 221 pieces of trash.
Gigi and Kahuna patiently waiting for the trash sorting to begin.

Kahuna loves to roll on the smelly trash bags once the trash has been dumped from them.

Gigi bored with the sorting and ready to go inside.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

4 weeks of Mondays in zone 4 with John and Ginger (May 26 - June 16)

May 26th.

Today is Memorial Day and we are thankful for all the sacrifices that others have made so that we can enjoy our freedoms.

In addition to finding trash today, we also found a dead baby shark and a very large hole.

Please remember to educate others about filling in their holes before they leave the beach.  Sea Turtles can become trapped in these holes; and in fact, a nesting sea turtle in Florida got stuck in a hole.  The poor turtle's head became buried, meaning she was unable to breath.  Lucky for her, kind people found her and were able to help dig her out and release her back to the sea.  You can read the story on their facebook page.  Below is a picture of the turtle.

Our trash included:
29 cig butts
46 food wrappers
16 plastic bottle caps
4 metal bottle caps
10 plastic lids
15 straws/stirrers
4 fishing related items
6 balloons
1 cigar tip
8 fireworks
11 foam pieces
30 plastic pieces
6 plastic bottles
6 glass bottles
5 cans
1 paper bag
4 plastic cups
John walks toward a red Solo cup before it gets washed out to sea.

2 foam cups
4 pieces of clothing including 3 mismatched socks and 1pair of underwear
13 toys
5 shoes
3 pairs of sunglasses
3 plastic zip ties (these are from the dredging operation)
Kahuna always loves trash sorting time.  He is up for adoption!
In addition to these items, our good friends, Jason Hand and Sarah Howard fished this huge plastic banner out of the ocean while they were at Masonboro!  KIC loves friends who love the ocean!

June 2, 2014
We almost always pick up items that we then leave by the trash cans at the beach for the Public Works Department to pick up.  We do this because items are either too heavy to drag up and down our zone, are too big, or maybe even too smelly.  Today, we carried a blanket, towel, and chair to the trash can.  Interestingly enough, the blanket and a few other items were left by the dredge pipe last week because we were not sure if they belonged to someone or not.  But…nope…..they were still there this morning---cooler, drinks, blanket, shoes, and all!  There for a whole week and no one picked them up.  In fact, someone added a towel to the collection!  :-)

Other items we collected today:
9 cig butts
32 food wrappers
11 plastic bottle caps
5 metal bottle caps
11 plastic lids
17 straws/stirrers
1 piece of a crab trap
2 pieces of fishing gear
2 pieces of fishing line
2 balloons

Mylar Balloon
1 firework
5 foam pieces
17 plastic pieces
6 plastic bottles
3 aluminum cans
2 ziplock bags
3 plastic cups
1 plastic fork
4 foam cups/plates
1 tobacco packaging/wrap
1 qtip
2 socks
11 toys
New toys with tags.  They were broken and therefore abandoned.

Plastic netting that new beach toys comes packaged in.  These are very common on the beach.
1 broken umbrella
2 hair ties
4 bandaids
3 plastic zipties (from dredging operation)
4 pairs of sunglasses
1 pair of goggles
6 shoes
2 pieces of black burlap from dredging operation.

We also found another deep hole.  I filled it in.  As you can see, it came up to my waist.  I would hate for a turtle or human to fall into that.

Kahuna loves to sleep on the smelly litter bags after I empty them.  He is up for adoption to a loving home.

June 9, 2014

It is always beautiful at Wrightsville Beach.  This year we have again encountered a friend whom we met last year.  He picks up trash on Mondays as well, just because he thinks it is the right thing to do!  We appreciate him!

Although the sunrise is stunning, we still have dredging equipment on our beach!  Can't wait for that operation to be finished.

With dredging comes construction debris that might not otherwise be on the beach, such as all the plastic zip ties and pieces of burlap that we are finding this year.  Today, I recovered the plastic orange netting that the zip ties hold to the metal stakes.  About 15 feet of the netting was torn away from the stakes and buried in the sand.  I uncovered it and threw it in the beach trash can.

Other items we collected today:
12 cig butts
52 food wrappers
5 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
7 plastic lids
21 straws/stirrers
1 plastic cutlery
1 piece of crab pot
1 plastic lure
1 fishing lure plastic bag
5 balloons----there have actually been a lot of mylar balloons on the beach this year.  I have even seen some in the trash cans that someone else has picked up and placed there.  Balloons are very dangerous for wildlife.  Sea turtles eat them.  I have actually had a sea turtle defecate a balloon while I was cleaning him at the sea turtle hospital.  Please do not let your balloons go.

4 pieces of construction material
1 firework
3 foam pieces
31 plastic pieces
1 glass bottle
2 aluminum cans
1 plastic grocery bag
7 other plastic bags
1 foam cup
3 strapping bands
1 tobacco packaging
1 chapstick
1 plastic dental flosser
1 bandaid
1 article of clothing
10 toys
7 shoes
1 shoe sole (a lost sole)
1 CAT gas tank cover (from dredging operation--it was returned to them)

2 swim masks
2 silica gel packs
1 bar of surf wax
1 pair prescription rayban glasses
4 zip ties (from dredging operation)
2 fabric ribbons
1 chapstick
1 large plastic snack canister

Kahuna does not understand why people would leave trash on the beach, but he loves the way it smells!  He is up for adoption!

June 16, 2014

Today I walked by myself because John was out of town.

I was disheartened to find more cigarette butts today.  I hope the town is educating about the "no smoking" ordinance that was voted in by the WB citizens.

I also found more balloons.  There is an ordinance against releasing balloons at the beach, but really they can end up at the beach no matter where you release them.  To date (June 22, 2014) KIC volunteers have reported 54 balloons on our beach and Atlantic Beach volunteers have reported 194 on theirs.  (This information comes from Ocean Conservancy) That is too many balloons!

This mylar balloon no longer has any color because it has been faded by the sun or washed away.  In the ocean, it would surely resemble a jelly fish (common food for sea turtles).

I got a kick out of two toys I found today.  Once was a howling wolf---if you recall, we just had the Friday 13th full moon---guess this wolf wanted to come out and play!  I don't blame him!  The moon has been irresistible!

The other was a mermaid stuck in the wrack line with a cigarette butt.  I couldn't help but think she stranded of smoke inhalation!  I'm sure she wishes everyone would abide by the "smoke free" ordinance at WB.

My total count for today was:
49 cigarette butts
55 food wrappers
1 carry out container
15 plastic bottle caps
4 plastic lids
13 straws/stirrers
2 pieces of fishing line
1 rope
6 balloons
2 pieces of burlap (from dredging operation)
13 foam pieces
21 plastic pieces
2 plastic bottles
2 aluminum cans
4 grocery bags (these also look like jelly fish to sea turtles)

3 other types of plastic bags
4 plastic cups
4 foam cups
2 foam plates
1 tobacco packaging
1 bandaid
2 pieces of clothing
17 toys
4 shoes
1 pair of Prada sunglasses (sometimes you get paid to clean the beach!)  (the lenses are scratched)  :-/

1 gel boob insert
2 lint wads in wrack
1 broken chair
1 plastic zip tie
1 dryer sheet
1 plastic Motrin pack
1 plastic nicorette pack
1 pair of goggles
1 chap stick
1 silica gel pack

I also stopped and picked up plastic plant pots that had blown out of someone's truck and landed on the draw bridge.  I didn't want all of these to end up in the waterway.  I picked up 16 total, but there were more I was not able to get.

Kahuna rolled in these plastic bags I picked up from the beach.  He is such a lover and he is up for adoption!

Gigi and her friend, Belle are amused as I sort the trash.  Belle found this old tennis ball in the natural area just behind her.  It was probably left from a previous trash sorting day.