Saturday September 21, 2013 was this year's Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup. I wrote a bit about it earlier, in the MoFo post about packaging and trash just a few short days ago, remember. We were a "point" destination, meaning we were a designated site to sign up to volunteer. We do this every year since moving here, including being a designated volunteer site. You know what? We have NEVER had volunteers come to us. Disappointing.
The night before the clean up, I was rolling through Facebook looking at a favorite page of mine, Balloons Blow (you MUST "like" them on Facebook, they are fabulous). I never looked into much about this clean up when it comes to sponsorship or really much about anything with them. Well, it was brought to my attention through BB on Facebook that one of the main sponsors is Coca-Cola. I was really disappointed to learn this. We soldiered on with the cleanup anyway, of course. I really don't know how we will roll next year though.
As I've written, we do A LOT of beach cleaning here. Well, ok, it's not just limited to beaches, we pick up trash on the road (if you ever drive down Long Beach and see 2 idiots in a "Mule", it's us. Usually we're incognito with hats and glasses. But, we've got a monofilament tube strapped to the Mule, multiple cans and recycling buckets, gloves, scissors, knives, pickers, and all sorts of other necessities, including cup holders, hm.....) Anyway... you get the drift. We pick up a lot of trash. So, what we have noticed since moving here is that: 1) there's more trash now than ever, 2) there's more awareness now than ever, 3) there's continued apathy from many people, and 4) wildlife is dying more than ever due to trash.
I slept until 8am the morning of the cleanup. We didn't have guests, and I like to sleep late. The cleanup commences at 9am if you stick to the schedule. We do. This means we also have tides to deal with and for the last couple years, it's been high tide during our cleanups. When tides are high on cleanup days, it means that we'll go out the next day at low tide to get as much as possible then too, but that doesn't count for the data cards.
By 8:50am, I was dressed in my beach cleaning clothes, and new $70 beach cleaning boots. I was slathered in bug spray, sunblock and lip balm. I had my Costas attached to me with a strap that would float in the (inevitable) event they slipped off my head. I had a jazzy "sweaty girl" band holding my hair in place, and several aluminum canteens full of water. Oh yeah, I was ready. Off we went. This is how the cleanup rolled, in photos:
|The day begins. My shiny new $70 boots.|
|How's that red solo cup working for ya Toby?|
I found over 1 dozen balloons in about .7 of a mile cleaned.
|Foil pouches are a special disease to our planet.|
They "degrade" in layers, making even more litter.
And, they sparkle as they break down so they look attractive
to birds, kind of like sparkly fish scales when they break into tiny bits.
|It's always an extra horrible treat to find something like this.|
5 gallon jug full of oil.
One ringy dingy, 2 ringy dingys.... Hello DEP?
|Another extra horrible treat to find.|
Larger vessel oil filter. Another item for the DEP.
|Caps. Geez, awful.|
They are the exact right size to get stuck in the throat of a turtle or bird.
Then they will suffer an agonizing death as they choke.
|Not sure, but we think this is a bumper off a large vessel.|
It was black rubber, very large, and completely waterlogged.
I could not lift it. I rolled it as far as I could handle.
The other happy vegan took it from there.
|Another pallet. Had some writing on it.|
Could be from anywhere.
|This is what happens to Styrofoam buoys.|
The start off big.
Then break into smaller pieces.
Then into tiny bits.
Then it gets eaten by fish, birds, sea turtles and other animals.
Then, they die.
Dune flowers and grasses on a CLEAN BEACH!
|I love how the mangrove roots seek the water.|
|Mangrove roots again.|
Never get enough of that, right?!!
|More beauty after all the trash is removed.|
|As it should be!|
Sea grass. Driftwood. Sea sponges. Coconuts.
|This is my sea bean haul for the day!|
|I sacrificed a pair of socks to the beach cleaning gods......|
|All in all, my shiny new $70 boots made it through pretty well.|
I only had to be rescued once, and only once did the water/mud go over the top of the boots
(hence the sacrificing of the socks).
|My new mascot!|
I am vegan hear me roar!
|This is when I go "squee!"|
A sea purse in the weed line!
|This is a box fruit.|
BIG sea bean!
It can survive afloat for up to 15 years!
They come in from the Pacific and Indian Oceans (I think).
|Little flocks of birds that seem to fly as one.|
They are everywhere.
I'll be back tomorrow with MoFo. I didn't want the coastal cleanup to go unmentioned. Give a hoot, don't pollute. xo