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:
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.

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