Friday, May 9, 2014

A day at the beach

A friend of mine that we met since we began cruising in October started a Facebook page, one.plastic.hour. The goal of the page was to get 1000 Facebook friends to dedicate one hour to picking up plastic somewhere and to post pictures of what was picked up. Keith has a passion for the plastic problem, one I happen to share.

On Wednesday, Keith posted a picture of the beach here at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove, FL. They recently added a fantastic new dinghy dock on the island where the beach is in an attempt to get more people to use the picnic areas and hiking trails. Nice try, but the beach is so disgusting with plastic trash that nobody wants to use it. So Keith and I decided to spread the word on the cruiser net in the mornings that we were going to have a plastic pickup day today at noon, for just an hour. A group of us showed up, trash bags and rubber gloves in tow, and worked for the hour only to discover that it's going to take us many more hours to even make an appreciable dent. The big problem is that there are very few large sized items on the beach. Most of it is the size of water bottle caps, lighters, pens, etc., and requires pulling up a log to sit on while you sift through with your rubber-gloved hands. The sheer amount of it is shocking. And depressing. And overwhelming. And sad.

All this clearly washed up on the beach with the tide and storms. Ten feet farther inland there is no trash.

Six people gathered all this in less than an hour.

Keith found this statue in the trash. We decided to keep it and call it the patron saint of beach cleanup.
So what can you do to help? For starters, you can find a place that needs cleaned up in your area, and spend just one hour picking up. Then you can like the one.plastic.hour Facebook page and post the pics of your cleanup. It's an easy to commit to limited time of one hour.

For the long term, stop buying bottled water in plastic bottles and begin carrying a reusable water bottle with you. Don't have one? I'll shamelessly plug my daughter's Ecococoon distributorship here where you can get first-rate reusable bottles. When you're enjoying outside activities like hiking, boating, camping, etc., please be sure to contain your plastic trash. A lot of the trash that we were dealing with is simple escaped trash that flew off boats in the wind. And finally, try to buy paper or glass when possible which at least decomposes in a nature-friendly way. You might actually make some beach comber happy in 25 years because they found your sea-glass.

Everyone always says they want to do something about the problem "some day" when they have time. So can you give up one sit-com TV hour and make a better place for your kids and grand kids?


Bruce Ellen said...

I live on the beach and sea the amount of trash on the high tide line.

Great idea of 1 hr to spend on clean up.
If it was 1 hr for say once a month by a very few people it would not take long to clean up the beaches.

Any one out there on the Gold Coast that would like to join me in oranizing a pick up day pease contact me on

Keep up the good work.

Bruce from sunny Queensland

John Clark said...

I whole heartedly agree. The amount of garbage tossed out on my city's streets is disgusting. I carry (yes plastic) bags when I go walking, and always return with a full one, just on a 30 min walk. Managing our own waste should be every humans priority, but the world is full of idiots. Ya'll ever seen Idiocracy? Give that one a view Tim, you'll try not to cry as you realized the satire is becoming reality.

frogphotog said...

Love the idea of the 1 hour cleanup. The Facebook page seems to have gone away--I can't find it with FB or Google.

When I lived in NYC, I used to take a plastic bag every time I took my kids to Central Park and fill it up. Couldn't clean the whole park, but I could at least keep the part we visited looking decent.

So sorry to see so much plastic washing up on the shores. Good point about stuff blowing away by accident. We will be eating in the cockpit or saloon, where things can't blow away, but it's good to have a heads up for if we're sitting outside. And that gives an additional reason to avoid disposable cups and plates, besides the hassle of trash removal.