This, by any measure in a sane world, would be insane. Knowing this, Danielle and the Cape Fear branch of Surfrider helped organize a town meeting last night to push for a ban on smoking at the beach.
|Surfrider's campaign posters|
In Portland, Maine it took until February 2012 for the city even to acknowledge that a plastic cigarette butt, loaded with a cocktail of toxic chemicals, was litter!
|Monument Square, Portland, ME|
(image from the Portland Press Herald online)
Last week I visited the Maine Fishermen's Forum up in Rockland at the beautiful Samoset Resort, overlooking rocky cliffs and a foggy sea. The fishing industry in the Gulf of Maine has reeled from one crisis to another for decades. Pollution, overfishing, acidification, sea-temperature rise -- these are putting tremendous pressure on fish stocks. So much of this comes back to simple mistreatment of the fishery & the environment. Yet judging by the view I saw out on the covered walkway...
|100 more all around the can and snowy sidewalk|
Since I started the Flotsam Diaries, I've pulled about 1/2 mile of fishing rope from local beaches.
|200 more feet pulled up at Curtis Cove, Biddeford|
on March 7, 2012
Yet Maine has no regulations for monitoring lost rope. If a lobsterman loses a trap, they fill out a form. But that paper form goes into a stack, with nobody really examining where it was lost. Even if the location was known, there are ZERO funds in the state to recover any of the gear.
So the problems grow. And heads remain firmly buried in the sand.
Still, it's not all doom and gloom. More and more cities are taking cigarette litter seriously. Even Portland, finally. More and more are taking grocery-bag and other plastic litter seriously. And the state of Washington has just passed ground-breaking regulation to monitor and help clean up fishing debris. There are fingerposts and guides the world over showing the good that can happen when you admit a problem exists & then fight it like you mean it.
Change can be a long road. I know all too well that it can feel sometimes like a hopeless road. But at least it's a road. Can you imagine life if there were no roads to take you somewhere beyond where you are?