Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 294 - June 17, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
3.5 pounds
1,111 pounds total 

3 cigarette butts

As I walked onto the sand, this plastic bag blew straight at me. That's my foot, stopping its run to the parking lot. I guess if this urban tumbleweed is going to take flight, I'd rather it head for the concrete behind me. 

My friend Kit gave me an LA Times insert called, "Water Stewardship." Surfer Rob Machado is one of the stewards interviewed. Here's a fact he relayed that if I'd read, I'd forgotten and may impact your choice to reach for a plastic bottle of water next time you're thirsty. 

"A little secret on plastic bottles is that it takes about 6 gallons of water to create each bottle of water, and that only 20% of those bottles are ever recycled." 

My friend Harry from The Flotsam Diaries blog does a great job demystifying recycling, or what we assume happens when we "recycle." Carreful, reading his posts are much like taking the blue pill in the Matrix....or is it the red pill. It's been awhile since I've seen the movie. But you get the implied idea, there's no turning back once you know...

For the first time since I started The Daily Ocean over three years ago, I crossed paths with another beach cleaner-upper while out on my collection. The first time you say? Yes, as far as I can remember I've never come face-to-face with someone out on the beach with a shared mission at sunset. 

As he walked toward me and I saw him bending in the sand collecting what I hoped was trash and not just sand dollars, my excitement grew. As he passed me, his plastic bag filled with trash in hand, I asked if he was cleaning the beach. He said yes, and asked me if I was too. 

Here's what cracks me up. All I could do is say yes, and thank you. I've engaged dozens of people on the beach who stop to talk to me. I tell them the name of my blog, I tell them how many pounds I've collected between two measly lifeguard towers (1,1111 lbs. to date), I chat. Tonight I was strangely tongue-tied. With a grin spreading ear to ear I contemplated calling it a night. He'd done the job. But then my curiosity told me to back track over the stretch of beach he'd just covered to see what he might have missed, or if more had washed up. Not as a critique of his cleanup, but as an excercise to see just how much crap is out here on a Sunday night. Sunday being a big beach day in the summer.

Tonight's 3.5 pounds of trash came from a stretch of sand cleaned moments before....