Monday, February 14, 2011

Community Count Day 111 - Manhattan Academy, Feb. 14

40 people
trash collected for 20 min. on Manhattan Beach
2/3 of a pound average per person
24.4 pounds total


We fanned out on the beach, forming smaller groups to scan the sand.

On Oct. 30th of 2010 I came down to their school for our first beach cleanup. This student found a bottle under the pier that day. He remembered collecting it with his friend who was absent this time. Same beach, different day, same stuff.....

This bottle cap looks like it has been through the ringer, so to speak. Seeing it reminds me that our trash, and especially plastic trash, can float around out in the ocean for days, months, years at a time never biodegrading. 

The insides of a student's bag shows me the same things that I routinely find in Santa Monica. I know that I have picked up a Mc Cafe plastic cup off of the beach sometime in the last year. AND straws.....countless.

We weighed our collaborative collection after our 20 minutes were up. Then I brought up the top three items that I find on the beach which we had discussed back at the school before heading out. 

I asked the group to raise their hands if they found cigarette butts. Now I didn't count, but the group looked unanimous. Their teacher had showed them the short film, "It Starts With Me" which features my friend Danielle's 20 min. beach cleanup in Wrightsville N.C. Her latest tally of cigarettes collected is 

We talked about solutions to the beach liter before we took this picture. I said that sometimes I feel overwhelmed thinking about how much trash is getting into the ocean, and so I need to remember that there are solutions, although they might not fix our problem overnight. 

solution to cigarette butts: They said, "don't smoke."
solution to plastic water bottles: They said, "use a reusable bottle of your own." I added that stainless steel was best. 
solution to the 7 BILLION plastic bags we use in LA County in a year: They said, "reusable bags."

These solutions seem so simple, could they really work? I certainly hope so. Shifting our daily habits impacts our own lives, the lives of those around us, and ultimately the world. It may sound like a grand statement, but is it? Is it really that simple? I guess I believe it is, or I wouldn't be writing this blog.