Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Collection Report June 29, 2010

Tuesday 6/29 brought morning fog, and a couple new sights, to Bay View:
Lifeguard not on duty

Fresh kelp washed up after summer storm

Just more proof that even a quiet beach is still a dynamic place, especially in the summer. And that our actions during a day don't die with the setting sun. Because it's not just kelp washing back up.

This bottle cap and cigarette butt clearly rode the waves. They both got into the ocean the same way -- a basic failure to get a piece of litter to its final resting place. They both ended up being part of the pollution problem of a nice beach. And they more than likely have company that I didn't see, if this piece is any indicator:

Freeze-pop wrapper half-buried by fresh sand
Wrapper retrieved; 3+ inches were buried

A small summer storm rounded up tons of sand from offshore bars -- and the detritus floating on the waves. It then redeposited it up and down the coast. What else lies several inches below the current surface of the beach? How is it affecting the clams and other organisms living there? When will it reappear? Where? In what condition? I don't know.

On to the specifics. Another big haul. First, the "N" zone:

245 finds in all:

  • Building materials: 2
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 8
  • Fishing misc: 8 (inc. 1 degraded claw band & 4 lobster trap tags ripped from a nearby derelict trap & strewn to the sand)
  • Food-related plastics: 30 (1 bottle, 4 bottlecaps, 1 Sam's Club water label, 4 gum/candy wrappers, 1 yogurt seal, 1 ketchup pack, 1 label from a Red Delicious apple, 7 torn ends from candy/chip bags, 1 beef jerky wrapper, 1 straw, 1 fork/spoon base, 1 freeze-pop wrapper, 4 straw wrappers, 1 SOLO plastic cup wrapper label, 1 pull string)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 17 (inc. 7 bottle caps from 6 different brands: Corona, Parrot Bay, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Michelob Light, un-ID'd two-headed eagle)
  • Food non-plastic/metal/glass: 5 (4 lollipop sticks & 1 gum)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 25 (inc. Trojan wrapper, single-dose eye drop, bandaid, lipbalm lid, and a bag stating "plastic bags can be dangerous")
  • Cigarette filters/plastic: 121 (119 butts (!), 2 plastic wrappers)
  • Paper, unidentifiable: 15
  • Misc./unique: 14 (11 fireworks pieces, 2 size 5-6 toddler water shoes, 1 "silly band" spelling LOL)
Take away cigarettes and the plastic bits that society wraps all its foods in, and you've instantly removed 3/5 of the trash. (For fun, here's what "119 cigarette butts" looks like when you sort them all out. The smell is pretty much what you'd expect.)
Zone S, as before, was much less trashed (photo of overall zone S trash got borked, sorry!)

33 finds in all:
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 3
  • Food-related plastics: 8
  • Food-related metal/glass: 3
  • Food non plastic/metal/glass: 8 (1 lollipop stick 2 gums, 1 wooden popsicle stick, 4 wrappers)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 1 (broken bit of blue plastic circle - cap/lid?)
  • Cigarette filters/plastic: 10 (all butts)
Again, the trend is that zone S is very lightly traveled. However, probably all but 6 of the items seem to be local drops, nothing for-sure ocean-borne. Of all the zone S finds, the one that got me was this little guy:
Even a tiny paper pepper packet from a fast food restaurant may have a plasticized lining. Didn't know that. It means that even things that look like they should biodegrade if you lose them may not.

Overall, I got a bunch of things out of this week:
  1. Hundreds of pieces of trash in zone N seems the norm.
  2. Cigarette accounts for 1/2 of the garbage every week.
  3. Even a lovely fresh apple or dash of pepper can be a source of nonbiodegradable plastic trash.
  4. The lifeguard station and old bonfire logs tend to collect people & their garbage, probably in off-hours or at night.
  5. Type, location, & condition might prove if something's ocean-borne.
The biggest thing I got is a sobering reality: It truly has become a plastic world. For proof, all you need to do is walk the beach.

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