Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Collection Report July 1, 2011, Part I

Looking through my pictures for my July 1 cleanup, this one lends itself to more of a photoblog. So, without more ado, let's give it a whirl.

If this morning looks about perfect, it was:
The calm before the swarm
And just in time for the 4th of July weekend, an upgrade out in the parking lot:
Semi-private bliss
Yet even with two huge no-smoking signs, some people simply will not get it:
Oh, maybe it was just a suggestion?
But looking beyond the manmade marring, something interesting is happening in Bay View beach.
Sea levels creep slowly up. Development & erosion take their toll. Yet Bay View's dunes are bucking the trend. They're actually moving back onto the sand! In busier Zone N, it's just occasional tufts. But in Zone S, the new dune layout has been formalized with a fresh fence, 12-15 feet closer to the ocean than last year! So Zone S's usable beachfront is compressed. In fact, high tides now mostly eliminate the beach there. It'll be interesting to see if Zone S trash plummets.

Neat ecology aside, this was a day filled with other surprises. Not least being this:
You're a long way from home
This plastic disc is one of 4.3 million released into the Merrimack River on March 11 from the Hooksett, New Hampshire wastewater treatment plant in a big screw-up. Since then, they've been found from Maine to Rhode Island. This one is the first found as far north as Saco. It probably found a mini-gyre off Cape Cod, spun counter-clockwise, & got shot out toward Saco Bay. Many others have likely picked up the Gulf Stream southeast of Cape Cod, and will start washing up on European shores by late summer.

Note: This disk was in the ocean for nearly four months and is pristine. Another piece of plastic washed up nearby, not nearly as pristine.
Rotten to the core
This squirt bottle nozzle is crusted, faded, brittle, cloudy, and ancient. However long ago it was lost, it wasn't a few weeks, or even four months. When plastics get in the ocean, they will survive a long, -long- time.

Moving along, I (1) added yet another perfect beach toy to Ruby's growing collection:
Will probably open a re-sale shop this fall
(2) wondered if the rest of this is now in an endangered marine mammal's gut:
What goes up, comes down
(3) pondered just how many tons of this material have been lost to the Gulf of Maine:
Fishing rope is polypropylene, and persists for centuries
and (4) reflected on today's big battles between powerful industry lobbyists and grass-roots common sense:
Hard as it is to believe, I'm still betting
on common sense in the end
Photoblog: off. Amazing what we can find & learn strolling the beach, when we really start to look.

Speaking of which, I'll follow this up shortly with the actual numbers for the week. They're pretty astounding. And not in a good way.

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