Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VeganMoFo Day #24: 2013 International Coastal Cleanup

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.

There are people all over the world who release balloons.
Sometimes it's for a memorial.
Other times it's to mark an accomplishment.
When some people explain to those balloon releasers how it's bad for the
animals and environment, the releasers often times get HOSTILE.
And, the balloon industry also fills people's heads with lies.
The first thing I found on my cleanup was a balloon ribbon entangled
with rope.
Balloons are litter.
Balloons choke waterways.
Balloons kill animals.
Anyone who says anything different is either stupid, or in the balloon industry.

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.
Trash kills.

The OC decided we were not supposed to pick up wood as trash this year.
Lucky for us, we don't just pick up trash to please the OC.
Pallets are often dumped overboard by cargo ships and such as litter.
And, they are very difficult to retrieve by people like us happy vegans.

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.

This is a perfect example of something "organic" joining something
"inorganic" at sea.
A large piece of bamboo (about 15 feet long) bobbing in the water.
The entire length was covered with several types of invisible
monofilament, and rope.
I had my knife, cut it all off and bagged it.
For the bamboo, we hauled it in so more rope & monofilament
wouldn't keep piling on as it moved on its way.

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.
People who add docks and piers on the ocean are selfish.
This is the absolute reality of what happens.
Trash, rope, monofilament. It all collects within the piers and docks.
Down here agencies rubber stamp them as "ok"
or pass the buck to some other agency until it will find someone to
"rubber stamp" it ok.
And, then people like me will go and clean your docks and piers because you can bet
your a** the people with docks and piers don't clean trash either.
Nope, that would mean their hands might get dirty.

We found so much rope and line this time in HUGE bundles.
Like attracts like I guess.
Somehow, rope finds other rope at sea, and becomes these
giant bundles of co-mingled ropes.
This may not look like much, but it's very large.
About 6 times we found bundles like this so large, we could not lift them.
So, I'd pull what I could out, he'd back up the Mule, and I'd
loop a piece of the pile to the hitch.
Then he'd take off on the Mule, and the rope would follow.
He dragged it all out to the road this way.

The fruits of our trash removal labors.
See that orange and blue thing on the left?
That is a tarp from a container ship.
He's got the dimensions, I forget them.
It came in with the tide.
It weighs between 200-300 POUNDS.
It stretched from the wrack line to cover our entire side yard when measured.
It took our (beach approved) tractor to haul this out, the Mule would no way handle this.
The trash truck used a grapple to pick it up.
This is what is being tossed into our beautiful Oceans.
And then there's the "after" shots of peace and serenity:

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

No comments:

Post a Comment