It Starts With Me

Our Daily Ocean: Day 52

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may know that I only decided to create this blog after a nudge from my friend Tracy.  She’s awesome like that… always giving me inspiration and encouraging me to do more.  On Tuesday, Tracy and her two kids joined me and my three kids at Access 36.

As always, our kids played A LOT while Tracy and I picked up litter for 20 minutes… BUT… it never fails that even while they’re playing they take the time to run to us with handfuls of litter.  It’s engrained in them…  when they see a piece of litter… they pick it up.  They understand that everything and everyone is connected…

My friend Julie and her family have been doing 20-30 minute clean ups at Wrightsville Beach throughout the winter.  Of course, they’re counting the cigarette butts they find.  On Sunday, Julie and her family went to Access 36 and removed LOTS of litter… and 412 cigarette butts!!!


For some reason, I was actually surprised by that number.  The last two times we had been to Access 36, the cigarette counts were 92 (Feb.) and 101 (Jan.). In fact, the last time we picked up over 400 was on New Years Day at Access 16. As we picked up over 300– on World Water Day— I began to contemplate what the difference is…. I’ve come to two conclusions.

1. During January and February, the beach front restaurant “Oceanic” was closed for renovations.  During those months, we didn’t find much restaurant litter or cigarette litter.  Coincidence??  I don’t think so.
Fact:  We picked up 21 straws in 20 minutes.  The majority found around the pier… most clear or black “mixed drink straws”… and many still wrapped in paper.
2.  Spring is here…. but it’s been so gorgeous that it almost feels like summer.  80? temperatures mean lots of people heading to the beach.  (… and I’m one of them!!)  I’m loving the warm weather… not loving how some people are trashing our beach.  (ummm… “our”… I mean.. my… your… his… her… their… EVERYONE’s… including the animals we share it with 😉 )

While my friend Tracy was on the phone with her husband… I went to take some photos of our kids playing when I heard her call my name and say: “You have to get a picture of this.”  When I saw the mess… my jaw dropped.  I thought to myself, “…this is not the wrack line.” And Tracy and I both were perplexed… where in the world did all of those “fresh” butts come from??  (hmmm….) When I got home and looked at this photo… I saw something I didn’t see while at the beach…

Footprints.  Bird footprints.  And they’re everywhere…. in a mess they didn’t create.

20 minutes on March 22, 2011
Litter by weight: 15.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 349
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrighsville Beach, NC in 52 days:


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