Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vegan MoFo 2014: MoFo Interruptus…. International Coastal CleanUp Day

Today was the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. If you know us, you know we participate every year. This year it was a little bit different, as the "Mule" vehicle we use to help transport trash back and forth, and more importantly we use to haul out heavy items like pallets and huge balls of rope, was unavailable. Presently it has no brakes, so it was not safe to use for the cleanup. This slowed us down a little bit because we had to manually haul the heavy bags to the curb, and also we couldn't get out some of the larger debris that we wanted to (numerous pallets, and a few other items).

This is why we clean. For the ocean. For the animals.
Look at all the beautiful teensy shorebirds hanging out on the flats!
Yay for teensy shorebirds!
Regardless, we did it. Once again, we got out there. Alone. Just us. There's clean ups all over the world, and a really big clean up at the East End of the beach. But the West End never gets any cleaning love from groups, just us and from the turtle walkers who walk every day patrolling for nests. All the more reason for us to clean this section today.

A couple weeks ago, we had really strong winds pushing onshore for days on end. Tides were extra high, and the seaweed kept coming and piling up. Areas where the seaweed packs down can be deceptive as far as stability for walking. It seems like these cleanups never occur at low tide. With a high tide, that means its always me who goes out on the flats to retrieve what I can that's floating, or trapped in deep wrack because I have boots. Those boots…. they're never high enough, and I mean it. Within minutes of getting out onto the flats on deep heavy packed seaweed I sank. And I sank bad. I was trapped, couldn't get out without sacrificing my boots and that was NOT gonna happen. The other happy vegan searched and found me a long piece of wood which he tossed my way, and with a little work, I was able to break suction and get my feet loose. This took me at least 5 minutes. You'd think I'd learn after this many years, but I never do. And, it didn't happen once today… not twice… it happened no less than half a dozen times. Admittedly after that first really bad incident I didn't put myself in quite as risky a situation, but every time I get stuck I lose time on trash collecting, which translates to adding time at the end.

Something that upset met today (other than the sight of trash on a beautiful beach) was being at a property where children had been playing. I venture an educated guess these children were with at least one of their parents. I do believe I know who they are… not yet living here, but coming to look at their place, make plans etc. Well, the kids made a makeshift checkers-type game. Quite a little haul of plastic caps and other plastic pieces. They played their game, then they left. All the trash was just left there. What are those children learning? The trash on the property was copious. Instead of coming to the beautiful oceanfront property and cleaning it, nurturing it, respecting it and protecting it, trash was played with then simply left. And that seemed to be a-ok with the parents.

Plastic caps have this horrible legacy of killing many birds and other animals. They are the perfect size to get lodged in throats of birds and other animals who think they're food, and go for them. It's heartbreaking to see, and yup I've seen it. They starve to death. Listen to me all you grownups…. teach your children and teach them well. Please leave areas better than you found them. Don't litter. Don't leave litter behind like this. There's no reason for that. Don't worry new homeowner, we picked up all the trash that was there, and quite a bit more. And we'd do it again, and we will I'm so sure.

This year for International Coastal Cleanup Day 2014, we covered about .6 of a mile, and hauled out about 600 pounds of trash. This doesn't include hazardous material we found including a car battery, fuel or oil in a container, and some other items that are of hazmat concern.

For your viewing displeasure, here's some pictures.

No idea what this is, but it was a pain to dig out.
The rope and line on it was entangled around other things.
We used our little cart to stack the trash on.
We hauled out numerous cartloads.
I really missed the "Mule" vehicle this year, big time.

That is a protected mangrove that has died.
It died because of illegal shoreline hardening.
Things like this happen down here,
 and some authorities seem to turn a blind eye,
no matter who you report things to.
This is the remains of a sea plant that has really pointy stickers on the stems.
Its' "perfect" for capturing improperly disposed of monofilament line.
Can you see that line? In the water, it's virtually invisible.
It's designed to be that way so the fishes don't see it.
Monofilament is virtually impossible to break.
It causes many choke deaths in animals, as well as entanglements
resulting in loss of limbs and loss of life.
Bad. Very bad.
A fraction of the rope we collected today.
Tumbling in the ocean, rope finds rope.
The piles seem to grow and grow.
If they eventually wash ashore and we find them,
we pull them out. It's NASTY, slick, slimy covered
in goo from being buried in the wrack.
If they don't wash ashore?
Most likely a sea turtle or other innocent will
become a victim of entanglement.
They'll either lose a limb, or more often than not, die
a horrible slow painful death.
These are 2 rings I found.
On the left is a plastic ring
 on the right is aluminum (the bottom of a beer can or something).
These are disasters waiting to happen.
Animals can get them stuck around their bills,
 can't get them off, and they starve.
Mammals get them stuck on their hooves (i.e.: Key deer),
they cannot remove them, and they become embedded in their limbs.
Then infection sets in, sepsis happens often, and a slow painful
death ensues.
Bad. Very bad.

So, would anyone like to venture a guess how this is allowed to happen?
That's a protected mangrove you see in this photo.
It is entrapped in concrete.
Yes, essentially someone shot concrete into the ocean to extend their property
then the added sand on top of it, and finished the whole shebang off
with illegal shoreline hardening.
There's the little mangrove.
Where life begins in the Keys….
it's trapped in concrete.
Apparently, it's all "who ya know"…

Oh, ironically when we first started PLANTING mangroves,
 someone called to report us.
Various officials came out here expecting to "catch" us doing something illegal.
Seems like people don't plant mangroves too often.
At least, based upon their surprise
 when they came to investigate it would seem that way.
Yay! Beauty! Look at all those beautiful mangrove seeds waiting
to fall and grow!!!!
This is my sea bean haul for today.
Not as many in years past.
Sea hearts, a sea purse, I think a nickerbean
and I have no idea what that flat thing on the left is.
I've yet to identify it.
I sacrifice 1 pair of socks to the flats every year on
International Coastal Cleanup Day.
It's a tradition.
These boots were made for cleaning.
They take a beating, for sure.
They've served me well over the last year.
I hope to get at least 1 more year out of them.
They look pretty good considering what happened to them today.
Look closely.
Can you see all the new mangrove trees sprouting through the wrack?
We hope they make it!
Black coral.
Hello Kevin.
We remember you.
See you next year, same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.

No comments:

Post a Comment