San Diego Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
September 15th, 2007 – by: cneoridium
During the winter rains wash trash into storm drains, creeks, then rivers, then finally into the ocean. Other trash is dumped from ships or just left on the beach. Pretty much anything that floats ends up washed up on the shore. It was getting pretty bad for a while, but much better lately... Have people stopped dumping in the ocean?? No... beach cleanups are getting more popular.
It's really making a big difference. Going back to the same spots, you see less and less accumulated trash each year. This year, pickings were actually pretty slim - which is good!
This one was actually part of a big county-wide "Beach Cleanup Day".
Here's how the thing works, if you want to do one locally. If you live in a big city like San Diego, there are probably a lot of organizations that coordinate the cleanups. I mean here, someone generally knows what areas were cleaned up and when, so you just have to find a convenient day to go. Otherwise, you just need to round up some people and find a way to dispose of the trash.
Provide some safety measures - you really need gloves and decent shoes, make sure people know not to pick up medical waste, jellyfish, anything dead or unhealthful, toxic waste, landmines.
Some of the top items were probably:
*Cigarette butts- they pretty much never go away, and wash from roads and parking lots into storm drains and creeks really easily. Even the bottom of the ocean is covered here when you scuba dive! We collected several thousand in a couple hours.
*Plastic shopping bags- thousands of them. They blow in the wind, wash downstream, and end up in the ocean. They're pretty dangerous for wildlife, things get tangled up in them, sea turtles eat them, or little creatures get inside and can't escape.
*Plastic water bottles. Thousands of them! They float forever, especially if the lids are on. There are big bottle drifts along the shore, bigger bottle drifts out in the ocean.
*Plastic water bottle and soda bottle lids - way more than there are bottles. I think people toss the lids even if they take care of the bottles.
*Shoes! I don't know why, but there are always a whole lot of shoes, flip-flops, and assorted footware. Maybe because they float?
At the end we had a contest for the "Best Find of the Day". That turned out to be the best indication that the program is actually working. Each year, the Best Find entries get more and more sparse. The first time of course you have 50 years of junk to choose from. Each year after that, it's just what has washed in that year, and eventually more and more is picked up so you have just items dumped that year. People brought their kids and they really loved it. Like a bunch of ants running around gathering things up, amazed at every new sea creature or object they come across! Had to drag them off the beach at the end.
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