Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trashy Talking Turtlers: Week 11

Week 11: Aug. 9 – Aug. 15, 2010
Aloha Trashy Talking Turtlers!

Let's Talk Trashy Numbers:
From time to time, some of the volunteers will say to me that they forgot to email their trash reports and did not send them because I had already written the newsletter. Please do not worry if you are late—I completely understand that life gets busy. Sometimes, volunteers will email their numbers the next week and I include them in the grand total, which is why—if you are reading carefully—the grand totals never completely add up. Also, sometimes I may overlook one of your emails or file it into the wrong folder. Once I realize this, I will add those numbers into the grand total. Such was the case this week. Kym Davidson sent me an email last week and reported six bags of trash in Zone 5. I read her email, but misfiled it and did not catch it until this week. So, those 6 bags will be added to the grand total in this newsletter.
So, please remember, it is never too late to send in your numbers; they will always be counted.

Also, someone had a question about the 42 zones. If we only pick up trash in Zones 0-5, where do I get the 42 zones? I multiply the number of zones (6) by the number of days in the week (7). We monitor for nests in each zone every day. Thus we have 42 opportunities—or zones—to collect litter from the beach.
Thank you so much for all of the hard work you have been doing.

Numbers for Week 11:
We picked up trash in 23 of the 42 zones (55%)
Zone 0 = 4.58 bags
Zone 1 = 7.83 bags
Zone 2 = 5.75 bags
Zone 3 = 7 bags
Zone 4 = 6.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags
Total for Week 11 = 37.16
Grand Total since June 1 = 427.41 bags of trash—not including items too large for bags.

Trash vs. Treasure:
Hi Ginger,
I collected two bags of trash on Monday. There were a lot of plastic bottle tops and plastic tidbits. It looked like a lot of the trash had been returned to the beach from the ocean. There was a line of grass and "junk" around the high tide mark. It looked like everything had been thrown around in the ocean before ending up back on the beach. I figured the ocean was giving us a second chance to pick things up.

Hi Ginger,
I collected one grocery bag of trash and lots of plastic wrappers from juice box straws. I guess there must have been a kid convention on the beach!

Hi Ginger,
We had one and a half Wal-Mart bags today in Zone 2. The litter is so much better than in past years. Keep up the good work. In fact, last week we saw a man picking up litter on his own, and today a woman and child were picking it up. -Pam

Sara and I collected a third of a kitchen garbage bag in Zone 2 on Thursday. The beach did not seem too bad with the exception of cigarette butts. Hundreds!

We found one large garbage bag of trash and a phone which we dropped off at the police station where the owner picked it up later. -Bonnie

This morning was a gorgeous morning on the beach. I collected three bags of litter in Zone 3 today. Most of the trash seemed to be pretty typical—soda cans, water bottles, small plastic sand toys, etc. There seemed to be an innumerable amount of plastic straws, plastic water bottle caps and those little plastic rings that come off the top of soda and water bottles. These were everywhere!
The largest amount of trash that I found was right next to Johnnie Mercer's Pier. It appeared that someone had a nighttime beach party and just left their garbage in the sand. I collected a whole bag of trash here—probably 12-14 beer cans and bottles, some empty and some full. I came across this spot at about 7:30 a.m. as I was finishing up for the day. By that time there was a small group of sunbathers and beach goers who had already assembled here. They all watched me pick up the trash but no one got up to help. That was a little disheartening.
Lastly, believe it or not, I found two sea turtles in the sand this morning. But alas, they were only plastic toys. Honestly, when I found these toys on two different areas of the beach I thought it was a sign. But, unfortunately, still no tracks.

Hi Ginger,
Here is my trash report for Zone 1:
Three grocery bags of trash—bottle caps, plastic wrappers, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, tissues, hand wipes, etc.
2 abandoned canopies
1 boogie board
1 pair of child's Crocs
1 beach towel
1 pair of men's underwear
1 pair of boy's underwear
Several plastic toys/buckets
4 soda cans
Several "four-letter words" scratched in the sand in BIG letters. I took care of that with my feet.
Has anyone ever asked the Shell Island Resort if their staff could police the trash on their beach? -Terri

Zone 0
I filled a third of a grocery bag with mostly bottle lids, straws, etc., and one pair of men's boxer shorts. (Hey, it happens!) -Jill

I collected one and a half bags of trash and one and a half bags of recyclables and treasures (beach toys) in Zone 5 today. I found lots of bottles and cans. Also, the receptacles at Crystal Pier were overflowing and a pile of clothes and shoes beside the cans that was there last week, still remained. Were the cans not emptied all week? It seems like a weekend trash run would be helpful in controlling litter overflow. As always, thanks! -Kym

In general, several of you reported men's boxers or underwear this week. Perhaps it was the full moon? Also, there was quite a bit of dog poop reported in Zones 4 and 5. Nancy Faye Craig even cleaned it up in Zone 5 while she was subbing for another volunteer. Thank you for being such a trooper, Nancy.

It All Starts With Me:
Last week I included Danielle's blog about the number of cigarette butts she is collecting on WB. On Tuesday, Aug. 17, she collected 409 butts in 20 minutes. This gives her a grand total of 952 butts in 3 days or 60 minutes. This number will hopefully help convince town officials that banning smoking on the beach is a good thing. You can follow Danielle's blog at: http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/. I thought about Danielle this week as I was walking in Zone 4 because I came across a spot with 15 cigarette butts sticking straight out of the sand.

Plastic Bags:
As we know, plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces and becomes a toxic part of our ecosystem. It takes a lot of energy and resources to even produce plastic bags that are single use and then thrown away. I think about going to the grocery store vs. going to Costco or Sam's Club where they do not give you plastic bags. If I can put my items in the cart without a bag at Costco or Sam's Club, why not do the same at the grocery store? Of course, using a reusable bag makes it easier, but sometimes I find myself without my reusable bags when I am at the store.
It is estimated that if one person switches to reusable bags vs. plastic bags, then they would reduce plastic bags by 6 in one week, or 24 in one month, or 288 in a year, or 22,176 in a lifetime (77 years). If one in five people in the US switched to reusable bags, then we would reduce plastic bag consumption by 1,330,560,000,000 over our lifetime.
To learn more, please click on the following link to view a short video:

Sea Turtle Hospital and Sea Turtle Camp:
f you have not visited the Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island, I highly recommend it. Tours only last a few more weeks and the hours are every day from 2-4 p.m., except for Wednesday and Sunday. To avoid a long line, try going on Saturday when beach tourists are either just arriving at the beach or leaving the beach and do not have as much time to visit the hospital.
Besides being open to the public for tours, the Sea Turtle Hospital offers several opportunities for education, including training interns and offering special programs for camps and other groups. One such camp is the Sea Turtle Camp. I have included the link to Sea Turtle Camp below because it has an awesome video of Jean Beasley talking about sea turtles and it also includes incredible footage of a sea turtle release. Once you click on the link, the video will be in the center of the home page. It only lasts a couple of minutes.

Thank you, Vito's!
On Monday night, many of us were treated to free pizza at Vito's. I think it is fair to say that we all had a great time and we missed those who were unable to attend. Thank you, Vito's.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trashy Talking Turtlers: Week 10

Trashy Talking Turtlers

Week 10:  Aug. 2 - Aug. 8, 2010

Hello Trashy Talking Turtlers!
It has been a busy week, so I will get straight to the numbers.

Numbers for Week 10:
We picked up trash in 22 of the 42 zones (52%)
Zone 0 = 5.5 bags
Zone 1 = 7 bags
Zone 2 = 2.75 bags
Zone 3 = 7 bags
Zone 4 = 6.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags
Total for Week 10 = 34.25 bags
Grand Total since June 1 = 384.25 –not including large items that do not fit into trash bags.

Trash vs. Treasure
Many of you reported observing a very high tide line this week and with that came lots and lots and lots of cigarette butts, bottle caps, and random little plastic pieces that the ocean spit onto our shore. Thank you for taking the time to retrieve as much of these items as you did.

Some of you continue to comment that the trash is better, but the holes are much worse. In fact, large holes were reported in every zone. On Wednesday morning—which is actually week 11—I found a hole that must have been a close cousin to the Grand Canyon .

Zone 0:
Vickie found a frisbee and Anne Marie found a handheld fishing net. Together, these items could provide for a day of endless fun!

Zone 1:
Dick and Linda found a full-sized gold shovel. I guess those full-sized shovels are more efficient than the small plastic shovels when you are digging to China.

Kim Meyer found denture adhesive, but no teeth attached. If you remember, Kim also found a dreadlock earlier this year with no man attached. Wonder if the denture adhesive would work on dreadlocks? Hmm…

Zone 4:
Melanie reports that Zone 4 continues to be littered with fireworks remnants in front of the Blockade Runner. Hopefully the people who are illegally setting off fireworks on the beach will begin to pick up the litter. At this point, there is no telling how many of those plastic shells have been buried beneath the sand.

Zone 5:
Chuck found a youth Schwinn bike helmet complete with fishing line attached. Not to worry, he will be donating this item to a very happy kid.

Page found a mess, and I do mean "a big mess", of fishing line tied to the post in the bird sanctuary of Zone 5. It was unbelievable and had to be cut free with a knife.

Also in Zone 5 were the chairs from the Oceanic scattered along the tide line. Joy even found one of these chairs all the way down at Access 39. To view a photo showing just how dangerous beach furniture can be to sea turtles, click on the following link:
Please keep in mind that this is not the only incident of a turtle being entangled or caught in beach furniture. It’s sad, really.

The Indian Ocean
We know that there have been plastic garbage patches found floating in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but now there is evidence of a plastic patch in the Indian Ocean as well.

I strongly urge you to click on the link below to read more about this issue. You will find a picture of a child playing on a beach completely covered in trash. It is very difficult to clean plastic out of the ocean, as it breaks down into tiny pieces, never truly going away, only getting smaller and smaller so that marine life cannot help but ingest it. The only real solution, as pointed out in this article, is to clean trash from the beach as soon as possible and to reduce our consumption of plastic or REFUSE plastic altogether. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/new-ocean-garbage-patch-discovered#

Also, share this information with your friends and family. The more people are educated, the better and sooner people will begin to change their consumer patterns. I cringe thinking that if humans continue on their current path, all the world's beaches could one day resemble the beach in this photo. It is too much for even one beach to be in this condition. It is too much for even one child to play on a beach that is littered with plastic and other debris.

A Blog You Will Want to Read
I was introduced to the following blog by a volunteer with Surfrider Foundation. The blog is posted by a local lady who has made it her mission to help get cigarettes banned on WB. She and her three children are collecting litter for 20 minutes, two days a week on WB. In just two days, or 40 minutes, they collected 543 cigarette butts. This lady is a new inspiration for me. To follow her blog, visit:
She also includes other valuable information about litter and environmental issues. You will want to view the video of the Albatross. I will warn you that the video is very disturbing and many of you have viewed similar videos before, but it is a true reminder of why it is so important for us to tirelessly advocate for a cleaner beach.
Events at WB
Beach Cleanup at Wrightsville Beach, Saturday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m.
CFCC Green Building Club has adopted Beach Access 16 (Johnnie Mercer’s Pier) at Wrightsville Beach. Last month they collected 80 pounds of trash. Please join them at their next cleanup this weekend. They will be meeting in the shade at the entrance to the pier. Bags and gloves will be provided.
*If you decide to join this event, you may want to wear your WBSTP t-shirt.

Vito's and Trashy Talking Turtlers
Monday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Vito's Picnic area.
Vito's and John Marcucci will host a pizza party for the WBSTP. This will be a great time to bring any flip flops that you have not yet recycled. We will be collecting the flip flops to send to families in other countries who are unable to afford shoes.
*If you plan to attend this event, please contact Ginger Taylor by Friday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Trashy Talking Turtlers: Week 9

Trashy Talking Turtlers

Week 9: July 26 – Aug. 1, 2010

Hey Trashy Talking Turtlers,
The Mother Turtles have found us! Now, if they would only leave a nest…
Don’t' they know how hard we have been working to make sure that they and their hatchlings will have a clean beach in which to return to nest again? Keep sending all of your positive thoughts out to those sea turtles.
Speaking of a clean beach, below are this week’s numbers:

Week 9:
We picked up trash in 17 of the 42 zones (40%)
Zone 0 = 2.25 bags
Zone 1 = 4 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 2 bags
Zone 4 = 4 bags
Zone 5 = 9.5 bags
Total for Week 9 = 26.75 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 348.5 bags—not including large items that do not fit into bags.

Trash vs. Treasure/Trashy Trends
Here are some of your comments from this week:

From Zone 0 (which tends to be one of the cleanest zones):

Wonders never cease, we did not find the first scrap of trash this morning. I guess we have trained our users well. -Abrons and Doss

Hi Ginger,
I walked through Zone 0 this morning and it was very clean. There were some cigarette buts and a couple plastic bags near the garbage can. No treasures today, except seeing the sun and the moon out together. -Thanks for all of your hard work, Christie

From Zone 1:

We had a banner Monday in Zone 1. Only two grocery bags of trash! However, we pulled two and a half umbrellas out of the surf as well as one tented shelter. Felt energetic, so removed two more tented shelters and pulled them up to the trash. It was a fun Monday. –Regards, Dick and Linda

From Zone 2:

Hi Ginger,
I collected three bags of trash from Zone 2, the usual. I focused on plastics and Styrofoam, mostly, and left the biodegradable stuff. So, I didn't pick up cigarettes, but I did pick up those that had the plastic mouthpieces.
There were a lot of flip-flops today. I've decided to give them all to the place that sends them to Africa even if they are not in pairs. They way they described it is that the people there have nothing to wear on their feet. So, two unmatched shoes are better than nothing. I collected six pairs today and a couple of single shoes. I also found a lighter, two Chapsticks, two towels and a couple of t-shirts. There was also a large plastic pail and several assorted shovels. Some college kids were visiting the beach from South Carolina and they were so excited to be here that they were asking a lot of questions about turtles, jellyfish and shells. As I was leaving, I brought the shovels and pail next to a garbage can to leave in case anyone wanted them; one of the kids asked if it was OK if he used it. It got recycled right there, on the spot! There was also one new item: a carpenter's hammer that I haven't seen before. I couldn't find any evidence of a carpenter, though!
There were also quite a few people on the beach this morning. A handful asked what I was doing. It was nice having the chance to tell them about the turtles and the effect our trash has on them. Another handful of people had brought their own bags and were picking up trash along with their shells. One woman said she wished there were as many collectible shells as there were bits of trash. -Renee

From Zone 3:

Hi Ginger,
Oh, I wanted to find turtle tracks this morning! But alas, no tracks.
On a brighter note, litter was not so bad today. I collected two bags in Zone 3. It was mostly plastic water bottles and soda cans; there was nothing major in terms of trash. One thing I did come across, however, was a t-shirt balled up right on the shoreline with the waves gently nudging it. When I picked up the tee shirt, it felt unusually heavy. So I gave it a shake, and a wallet and Blackberry fell out! Fortunately, I was able to find the owner via Facebook. Thank goodness for the internet!
This morning was a very pleasant one on the beach. There were many beautiful seashells, and the breeze was—dare I say—a bit cool. Yet I am still hoping for those elusive tracks. -Susan Miller

From Zone 5 (One of the trashiest zones):

I collected one bag of trash on July 28, which was mostly filled with plastic bottles. Additionally, there was a truck tire that floated ashore and had been pushed above the high-tide line. The city has seen it because there were beach patrol tire tracks near the tire. -Chuck

It was a cleaner beach today. I only picked up one full bag, with a lot of plastic tops and straws. There were also the usual odds and ends of shoes, toys, etc. The number of cigarette butts seemed to have tripled since the beginning of the summer. Once again, there was a lot of trash from the Oceanic. I wish we could get them to do a patrol at the end of the night. Also, I did not see any dogs, but I did see two sets of dog tracks. Have a good weekend. -Joy

Hi Ginger,
Yesterday I picked up one and a half bags of trash and one bag of recyclables and sand toys in Zone 5. The most unusual of it was a Barbie shoe. Thanks. -Kym

Inspiration From Bobby Brandon
If you did not read the Lumina News this week, you will want to click on this link to read how Bobby Brandon is tackling the litter problem head-on: http://www.luminanews.com/article.asp?aid=6706&iid=231&sud=30
Every Monday morning, Bobby takes to the streets of WB to clean up litter. And boy is he serious! He loads his truck with a heavy-duty broom, work gloves and garbage bags. According to the article, Mr. Brandon believes each person needs to do their part and not just depend upon the town to clean up the litter.

You Are Being Heard, Or At Least Read
I know some of you may wonder how many people are listening and how much of a difference we are making. I often wonder the same thing. However, I want you to know that you are making a difference and people are taking note.
I saw Mayor Cignotti a few weeks ago when he was wearing a WBSTP shirt and he commented on your work. Alderman Bill Sisson and Mayor Pro-tem Bill Blair have both commented on your work during the Cleaner Greener Committee meetings. Alderman Lisa Weeks often uses our newsletter to address WB businesses on ways they can help alleviate some of the litter patterns that you have observed on your morning walks. Alderman Susan Collins has commented on your work and states that she, too, picks up litter on the beach.
Your work is very much appreciated and your observations are helpful in providing data and evidence on the need for change. Thank you for all you are doing.

The Next 30 Years
As many of you know, WB has an "anti-litter" committee called the WB Cleaner Greener Committee. This committee is charged with providing recommendations and solutions to improve the litter situation at WB. I believe this is a positive step, and the committee members all seem passionate about their responsibility.

However, I found it interesting to learn that the town of WB also had a similar committee in 1980, called the Wrightsville Beach Clean Community Committee. Perhaps that committee was successful, yet things have changed so much that there is once again the need for new committee. So now, in addition to WB’s current issues, today’s committee is also examining the issues that we faced 30 years ago.

Looking back on the littering laws of 30 years ago, litter was illegal then and is still illegal today. Education has worked to the point that nearly everyone in our country knows that littering is illegal. (Remember the commercial: "Give a hoot, don't pollute") Maybe we can educate on just how detrimental litter is to our environment and our quality of life. Maybe enforcement will help to further the education. While I don't know all of the answers, I am sure the committee members will have much to discuss.

I do know that in the next 30 years, I would like to see a positive change in the litter problem at WB and around the world. But if things don’t improve, we can use the Trashy Talking Turtlers' 2009 and 2010 data as a guideline to see just how bad things might be for our children and grandchildren:

14,220 bags of trash, not including all of the random large items that do not fit into bags. (And this is only litter collected during 3 months of the year by WBSTP at 474 bags/yr. for 30 years.)

5,400,000 cigarette butts (which is a very conservative estimate based on 3 month/year for 30 years.)

If we have a nest this year, and a female from that nest is lucky enough to survive, she will be ready to nest on WB in about 30 years. But, will WB be ready for her? I sure hope so.