Eight pounds in fifteen minutes


In the early mornings, before the kids arrive for our environmental education programs, I like to survey the water for manatees, stingrays, alligators, dolphin, turtles, ospreys, and other interesting wildlife. 

My reactions vary according to which animal I find.  Some I love to see and watch with a sort of hypnotized adoration.  Others evoke tinges of paranoia.  But there is one sort of fish that I never want to see; the “trash fish” we find on the edges of the lagoon. 

Bottles, beer cans, bait wrappers, plastic tubs, fishing line, hooks, cigar holders, cigarette butts, a flip flop, a wayward water shoe, the plastic pull tabs from lemonade or milk jugs, the screw tops to bottles, and peices of styrofoam floating in the water.

It never ends. In fifteen minutes on a hundred foot stretch of beach I filled two five gallon buckets with trash.  About eight pounds of refuse. 

It could be so easy to curb this problem if we just paid attention to where our trash goes and limit how much we generate in a day.  And it is an immense problem.  Hundreds of thousands of pounds of debris in the oceans.  More every day. 

If you love the ocean, keep it.  In the same sense that zookeepers keep animals happy and clean their habitats.  Any day you walk the beach, any day you hit the surf, any day you fish .. keep it.