Ginger Taylor is a volunteer with the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project here in North Carolina. She tallied how many bags of trash were collected by their volunteers during their regular monitoring walks and shared the last couple of weekly updates with me. From June 1 to August 31, these volunteers have picked up 474 grocery bags full of litter, which doesn’t include large items or unreported cleanups. Using their estimates of 4 grocery bags to a trash bag, and my estimate of 20 pounds fitting in a full trash bag, they have removed at least 2,370 pounds of litter from Wrightsville Beach.
Ginger and her husband John collected 11 grocery bags full of litter on a walk over Labor Day weekend. This is what she found:
“We estimate that we picked up at least 200 of those little plastic straw sleeves for kids' juice drinks. The rest of our collection included all kinds of plastic bags, 3 broken chairs, 2 mismatched flipflops, 1 cell phone (broken), 1 ladies watch (broken), 1 bottle of Rohto V. ice eye drops ( I've never heard of these and it was in a very different type of container), 1 child's pink bowl, 1 child's purple plate, 1 toy policeman, 1 toy jungle boy, 2 pink shovels, 10 plastic beverage bottles, 22 aluminum cans, 1 butter knife, all colors of foam and string, cigarette butts, a couple of pens, 1 battery, bottle caps, 2 condom wrappers, 1 dirty diaper, 2 tampons, lots of plastic straws and about 15 bandaids. Yes, it was pretty disgusting.
But the saddest of all was when we were walking back to our car and picking up trash at the tide line. John spotted a blue bottle cap and stopped to pick it up, but the ocean beat him to it. He did chase it into the surf, but it was too late. The whole scene made me wonder how often the ocean eats the garbage that is left on our shore and then feeds it to her inhabitants.”
Well put. Thanks Ginger and all WBSTP volunteers for their work this summer.
-posted by Jennifer O’Keefe