Sunday, October 9, 2011

Collection Report Sep 25, 2011

September 25, 9:15AM, and a beautiful fall morning.
A calm sea and a clean wrack line told the story. No energy, no trash. Sadly, a dead harbor seal pup had washed in. (Apparently that's happening a lot in the Gulf of Maine this fall.) But there was very little else to be seen. Except a beautiful bay under an ever-changing sky.
The light haul from Zone N.
62 finds:
  • Building materials: 1 (brick chip)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 10
  • Fishing misc.: 3 (2 rope pieces, claw band)
  • Food-related plastics: 6 (bottle cap scrap, 5 food wrappers/scraps)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 2
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 3 (firework, 1 scrap >1", 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 35 (34 cigarettes, 1 package scrap)
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 1 (fabric fill)
The International Coastal Cleanup had its main week from Sep 18-25. More than likely, some local folks hit Bay View as part of it, leading to a surprisingly (shockingly?) litter-free beach. Minus, of course, the ever-present cigarette butts. The story was similar on Zone S.
23 finds:
  • Building materials: 1 (asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 13
  • Fishing misc.: 0
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (milk bottle cap ring, wrapper scrap)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 3 (3 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 2
  • Paper/wood: 2
  • Misc./unique: 0
I'm glad Ocean Conservancy-sponsored coastal cleanups try to raise awareness. But I wonder if volunteers leave with the wrong impression. It would be easy to think that it takes a beach a whole year to collect debris. It doesn't. Cleanup volunteers should be encouraged to revisit their beach in a month. Or even a few weeks. That might really open eyes. Take this stretch of beaches in the mid-Atlantic, badly fouled just one week after the big cleanup. It hurts to see a beach trashed. It hurts a lot more viscerally to see it when you've just busted your backside to make it better.


  1. I get suspicious when I see an empty beach these days - I recently returned to a beach a friend and I had cleaned about a month earlier - and where we had left a whole load of rubbish because we literally could not carry it all away - and it was clean. All the rubbish had been washed out to sea by a high tide, I guess.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Yeah, it always raises my eyebrows now too. The CEO of Surfrider recently just wrote an article to the same effect -- if you see a "pristine" beach anywhere in the world in 2011, it's because either it was scoured clean by a storm or because a person/people worked very hard to clean it up just before you got there. Sad statement. Though nice to know that there are people everywhere fighting the tide. Thanks for the note!