Monday, July 5, 2010

Beach Cleanup Day: Look What's Left Behind

Today was Beach Cleanup Day at Newport Pier, here in Newport Beach, CA.  It's just one of the dozens of volunteer-powered beach cleanups organized by Kim Masoner and the other dedicated staff of Save Our Beach, a local non-profit group that spends hours and hours every month helping to keep our beaches (from Seal Beach to Newport) clean. This cleanup was specifically designated to remove the leftovers from 4th of July celebrations.  The pic is a shot of just one bag of trash I picked up. While I wasn't shocked to find the fireworks remnants, plastic bottles, the one lone flip-flop,discarded cigarette butts and plastic wrappers, I was surprised to see the number of shredded balloon pieces and brightly colored ribbons that were entangled in pile after pile of seaweed that had washed up on the shore.  After a while, I found myself concentrating on just the seaweed, to untangle and remove as much of the balloons and streamers that I could get my hands on without taking a pound of seaweed with it. That's when it dawned on me that these balloons weren't just from this holiday weekend -- I started seeing coordinating colors that I recognized... as in the coordinating colors of nearby high schools. I realized that much of what I was seeing was the leftovers from graduation celebrations. Ugh! I wonder how many people stopped to consider the danger that their party leftovers poses for the marine animals that call the beach their home.

So to all of you that graduated: "Congratulations" all that use the beach to celebrate a birthday, a holiday, or another special day with friends and family: "I hope you had a WONDERFUL time"... now please, please, leave the balloons at home next time. 

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