Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 29 - June 21

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 2
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 174.8
A plastic drinking bottle top. Today I collected one disposable plastic water bottle. I collect at least one every time I am out there. 
A plastic To-Go lid.
I found a pair of flower wreaths on the beach. They looked beautiful washed up on the sand. A Midsummer's Night at the ocean. 
There are going to me pictures of trash, waves, sea birds, and beach landscapes in this blog. I get nervous thinking ahead to how I am going to make all of them appear interesting given the inevitable repetition I am facing with my subject matter. There is one picture that I will never grow tired of taking, or worry if it is going to be too repetitive, and that is the light at sunset on the water. The golden color that reflects off the surface of the water is striking every time I see it. 
But there is something that I wish I never had to see again. That is the image of this sea gull swallowing a large piece of plastic sideways down its throat as I watched. I was only steps away from getting it to drop the plastic. (I was hoping to anyway.) I set my bag of trash I had collected on the sand to take pictures of the water. I turned back and saw it pick at the bag. I chased the gull away only to see it land a few feet from me and grab a large, flat piece of plastic that I had not seen to collect. Before I could do anything the bird swallowed it sideways. It really upset me. I know that I sound dramatic, but I felt awful that I was so close to the bird and couldn't prevent it from swallowing something that may kill it. It did not choke, but over time, if it continues to swallow plastics that cannot pass through its digestive track, it will die. This was the last thing I saw as I left the beach. It motivated me to come back tomorrow. Garen says that the bird may be able to regurgitate it. I hope so.  
There is a picture that I was thinking about that I saw in a book on the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii. It is embedded in this blog in an article entitled, "Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic. Are We?"  The picture is of a dead sea gull that died from digesting plastic. The above link to the monument will only lead you to an inspiring marine sanctuary. Please explore that site, Papahanaumokuekea is unbelievable.