Monday, September 26, 2011

Collection Report Sep 3, 2011

Well, Irene came and went. On Sunday, August 28, cutting more westerly than expected, she hit Saco Bay, Maine with her east flank. 40-50mph winds rocked the coastline all day. But the worst & last of her winds came from W/SW. From inland out to sea. Here's her waning power on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 28:
Scour (Aug. 28, 2011, 6:30PM)
And here's Bay View the next morning, after the midnight high tide had come and gone:
And rinse (Aug. 29, 2011, 8:30AM)
And there you go. Hurricane/TS Irene ruined communities up and down the east coast. But at Bay View, all she left was an utterly clean slate. Not even a dollop of seaweed. All thanks to wind direction (and maybe to the long Saco River jetty a mile down south).

The rest of the week was warm & sunny. The perfect ending to an epic Maine summer. So it's little surprise that when I got back on September 3, there was junk. Though taking away this still-smouldering Bacchanal...

Poor showing
...the haul would have been small. (Note to partiers: Dumping your plastic in an open-air bonfire doesn't make it go away. Pretty much everything you did here reflects badly on you.) As it was, the haul wasn't small. Zone N:
146 finds:
  • Building materials: 0
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 36
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (rope scrap, buoy scrap)
  • Food-related plastics: 22 (4 cups, 5 food wrappers, 4 straw wrappers, 2 cup lids, 3 bottlecaps, 2 bottles, straw, gum)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 19 (14 cans, Jaegermeister bottle, beer bottle, 2 bottlecaps, foil wrapper)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 19 (5 bags/scraps, 1 bottlecap, 4 toy scraps, 5 scraps >1", 4 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 35 (34 filters, 1 packaging)
  • Paper/wood: 10 (9 paper scraps, 1 wood firecracker stick)
  • Misc./unique: 3 (2 fabric pieces, battery)
After all of Irene's fury, Bay View Zone N got maybe 2-3 pieces of ocean-borne debris. A bit of rope, a buoy scrap, and maybe this stained, abraded bottle cap:
The stories you could tell...
On the other hand, Irene probably blew away 40-50 cigarette butts (edit: 40-50 from Zone N; probably hundreds from the rest of Bay View), and who knows what else?

Zone S, always low on litter this year, offers little more enlightenment:
28 finds:
  • Building materials: 0
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 19 (!)
  • Fishing misc.: 1 (rope twine)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (scrap of spoon/fork, straw)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 2 (1 scrap >1", 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 4
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0
The only thing of note: the spike in styrofoam over the usual Zone S finds.

A day after the storm, I watched a video of a 140-year-old covered bridge in Vermont washing away into splinters from the raging torrents. That was Irene's reality for so many of my fellow Northeasterners. At Bay View beach, ~20 pieces of styrofoam may well be the best -- the only -- evidence for Irene. With that, and the removal of one wonky tree along the 3-mile route between my condo and the beach, she was well and truly gone from Saco, Maine. We got lucky. My heart goes out to those who didn't.

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