Friday, October 30, 2009

Beverly's Beach Clean Up - Day 5

This is the last post of one of my reader's, Beverly, who took me up on the Community Count Challenge and spent most of her beautiful Newport, R.I. vacation picking up trash from the beaches she researched by contacting the Rhode Island Chapter of Surfrider.

Beverly is an example of someone who has been really inspired, and her efforts go above and beyond what I could have hoped someone to do.

But you can contribute to the Community Count too by:

1. going to your local beach and collecting trash for 20 minutes.

2. take pictures of the trash and what you see along the way.

3. weigh the trash

4. send me the pictures, how much you collected, and your thoughts and I will post them on The Daily Ocean.

You can also come to the beach in Santa Monica if you are a local and help me collect.

I post the time I am going out on the day and you can see this by following me on Twitter, , or looking on my blog towards the upper right of my home page for the information. You can come once, or as much as you like.

The Community Count has:




Again, thank you so much Beverly! You have inspired me to keep going with The Daily Ocean

and have been such a huge supporter. I really appreciate it.

Third Beach (Middletown) October 6: 2.8 lbs. (Rusty Pipe: 1 lbs.) collected

The last beach on my list. Third Beach is one of several beaches on the Sakonnet River in between the Norman Bird Sanctuary and the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and on this sunny afternoon it’s a boater’s beach. There are boats moored in the harbor, and kayakers out on the water.

I watch a gull take a clam shell from the water and hold it in his mouth, moving around the shore and out into the water. I’ve never seen that before. The gull’s not in a hurry and proudly paddles by the other gulls, his prize in his mouth.

I walk along picking up pieces of plastic, some plastic bottles and pieces of cans. Not many child’s toys here. This side is for boating, in and out. It’s a little rocky at mid-tide; hard to sit or play. I see a rusty pipe and put it in my bag.

I finish picking up a few more pieces of plastic, and then reach down for what I think is Styrofoam but turns out to be shattered clam shell. That’s happened at each beach, and I leave the shell pieces on the sand. I weigh my final bag of trash and it’s 2.8 lbs. including the rusty pipe which is 1 lb.

Driving away I head up to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge to see what’s there. It’s a drive through tall sea grass and up a hill – a beautiful view overlooking Third Beach on one side, and Second Beach and Sachuest Beach on the other, with the pavilions of Atlantic and Easton’s Beaches further in the distance. A great end to my beach cleanup project – the chance to see some of the beaches I’ve visited from a distance.

Beach Cleanup Impressions:

My strongest impression from the beach cleanup project was plastic – plastic everywhere. Children’s toys, sandals, pieces of many things, bags, parts of cups, plates and containers. It’s easy to forget something at the beach – it’s in the sand, the wind blows something away, you’re distracted. It’s hard to change behavior and hard to keep beaches clean without taking away the joy of the beach. But being careful about what you bring and what you leave help keep any special place clean for all.

Second Beach in Middletown and Gooseberry Beach in Little Compton made me think about dogs at the beach. It’s great to see owners and dogs at the beach – great for the owners, great for the dogs. But doesn’t this affect the beach? I’d like to learn more, and I’m sure that dog owners would too.

Perhaps one message from this cleanup project is to have respect for the beach the way you have respect for anything you love. Maybe that means coming to the beach with items in cloth bags, and reusable containers for drinks and food, not throw away. Curbing your dog when you’re at the beach. Small changes that add up to cleaner beaches and cleaner water. I’m glad for groups like SurfRider and Save The Bay that remind us beaches and water are fragile systems that need our support and care.

Beach Cleanup on Future Vacations:

I enjoyed this project from beginning to end – meeting Sara and responding to her suggestions, working with SurfRider Rhode Island, visiting all the beaches, experiencing them from a trash collection point of view. The thank yous from other beachgoers were very encouraging. I’ll plan to do the same project when I’m in Florida in January, and again on Hilton Head in April – there are SurfRider chapters where I’ll be going. I invite other vacationers to do the same when they travel to beaches they love. I know that Sara will be glad to post your pictures and your thoughts.