Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 35 - July 9

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 4.4
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 202
The second picture of poo on my site. It is even high-lighted by the sun, and rests picturesquely on the wooden boardwalk amongst grains of sand. I love my dog and cat. We are thinking about adopting another dog. One thing that I do when I take Kona, (our dog), out for a walk is bring disposable poop bags to clean up after him when he goes to the bathroom. Why do dog owners go thru this trouble? For one thing, a sidewalk, or park lawn littered with dog s*&%t is gross, and unsightly. But did you know that dog and cat waste carry harmful bacteria and parasites that when left on the ground, can wash into drinking water, streams, lakes, and oceans? It is true, dog waste in not just a nuisance to step in, but could get you sick. This specimen was found on the boardwalk half way out to Life Guard Stand 26 on Ocean Park Beach. The dog and his owner were found at the end enjoying the sunset. I've forgotten, or run out of bags too on a walk. I'm not a saintly dog owner, but I am glad that today, I had one. Please click here to read in more detail an article sponsored by the University of Maine on pet waste and water contamination.
One of my least favorite things to see when I am out collecting trash on the beach is a seagull eating a piece of plastic. I often witness this, like I did today, only 10 - 50 feet away. My two options go thru my head when I see this. One, if I run toward the bird, it might drop the plastic bottle top so that I can pick it up, or two, I'll scare it away. Then it may consume the trash somewhere out of my sight where I am unable to stop it. Recently I watched a bird eat a cigarette lighter in front of me. There is a picture that comes to mind when I see this happen. It is of a decaying bird that died because it ingested too much plastic. I found this picture in my book on the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii. I've been searching the web to link the picture here. I haven't located it yet, but it is a striking image that sticks with you. Sometimes, as harsh as it, an image like that can be a powerful learning tool. I think about that image every time I see a seagull eat plastic on the beach. 
The plastic water bottle of the day. 
The beach was really dirty today. I found it depressing. Summer is here and people are enjoying the beaches, but the trash collection has gone up with the temperature. This project is harder to do than I thought it would be. Emotionally, I find it difficult to collect trash for 20 min. and not get to half of what I see on the ground between two Life Guard Stands. 

I like this picture though. The woman standing at the top of the ramp is a life guard, a person who has dedicated part of her life to saving people. I watched three of them the other day, go in after swimmers that were out too far. I'm always impressed by their skill. Thank you to all of them who take on this dangerous job. People care at many different levels. I need to remember that.