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.

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