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Election Day 2012 delivered a win for the environment. Wrightsville Beach overwhelmingly voted for a smoking ban on the beach. If you’re looking for smoke-free beach trip, consider this location.

Read more about the WB smoking ban.

Denyse and Gail at 2012 Kure Beach Sweep

Denyse and Gail

For the second year, the Island Women led the Kure Pier Beach Sweep. Among the items found were a tiki torch and a plastic cow, moooo!

Of course, Gail wore her infamous recycling hat.

Thanks to all of the volunteers for taking time out to make the beach safer and cleaner.

Montage from NHC Big Sweep at Kure PierOn September 24, the New Hanover County Big Sweep came to Pleasure Island.  Despite the gray, drizzly day, both Carolina and Kure Beaches were filled with people picking up litter on the sand and roadways.

The Island Women sponsored the Kure Beach section, with approximately 64 people hitting the sands. Ashley High School was well represented, with 20 participants and 12 Island Women retrieved trash, in addition to staffing the sign-in table.

We are still waiting on the final item counts from the county, but there were a few strange items worth noting: a wish in a bottle (cute but still litter); a jock strap; a dead opossum tangled in fishing line (obviously not just a danger to marine life); and a homemade water bong. Of course, there were thousands of cigarette butts.

The highlight of this event was the massive improvement under Kure Pier. Some Island Women and Ashley High students teamed up to do a thorough sweep in a space that tends to be forgotten until the trash washes out to sea.

It was great to see so many people caring about the environment and we’re hoping for an even better turnout for next year’s Big Sweep. Remember, litter is 100% preventable.

Sea Turtle and Trash on Pleasure Island

Sea Turtle and Trash on Pleasure Island

The unofficial end of summer has arrived. I spent much of my beach time with sea turtle nests (trenching, sitting, hatching and excavating) and picking up litter. Trash and turtles are a bad mix. Having picked up over 3000 cigarette butts  and endless pieces of plastic this season, I have to wonder how much of this litter ends up in the belly of a sea turtle or other marine life, where it will likely kill the poor animal.

I volunteer with the Island Women, on the environmental committee, and with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project, both great groups of people working to make the island a better place. I could go on and on about the atrocities I have witnessed  with respect to the blatant disregard for the beach environment, but instead I’ll just add a photo. You’ll get the idea. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people litter and a lot of people don’t. Litter is 100% preventable, period.

On September 24 at 9 a.m., several groups will participate in beach cleanups in Southeastern NC. Please consider joining in or picking up on your own.  Find locations for NHC Big Sweep events.

Return to the Sand

229 butts Kure Beach 443

229 butts, Kure Beach access 443

After a brief absence due to an unfortunate encounter with oyster shells, I returned to Kure Beach access 443.

This sums it up: See those things in the background? The more there are of them, the more there is of the stuff in the foreground.

I did have a bit of help from a woman who was fishing and a man who was watching the waves, which I greatly appreciated. The lifeguard said thanks and several people scooped up their butts as I approached, as if I was going to ticket them. I wonder if someone would give me that power.

On another note, there are currently three turtle nests being watched on the island and hopefully more to come. 

Have a fun and respectful time on the island.

174 butts and iPhone on CB
174 butts and iPhone on CB

Apple hasn’t officially set up shop at Carolina Beach, but you wouldn’t know it by what I found this morning.

I stumbled across an iPod in a parking lot. The top glass was crushed, but the touchscreen was fine. While I wasn’t able to figure out whose it was, I did come across the obligatory self-snapped photo of a young male flexing his muscles in the bathroom mirror.

I turned this gem in to a proxy cop, the information booth at the town hall since the cop shop was closed. I wish the young man luck in his strength training.

While I was enroute to my beach cleanup, I spotted the most wonderful thing; an army of young trash retrievers. They had filled an entire pickup truck with street and beach trash. It made my day. They were all aflitter with bags and gloves and picking up sticks.

Next stop, knowing that these kind people likely skipped over cigarette butts, as many do, I headed for the sand. Indeed, there was barely a cup or paper to be found, but I did scrape up 174 cigarette butts rather quickly. I had a lovely conversation with a young family about the importance of keeping the beach clean. I watched a small child launch a kite so perfectly that he’ll probably go pro… and then I saw it. I spotted yet another Apple that had fallen from the tree!

I carefully dug my hand into the sand to retrieve the shiny black iPhone that looked a heck of a lot like mine, mostly because they’re all black and they’re all shiny. I pushed the home button and found it had a lock code and a screen photo of a cute little dog. Well, the lock was not to be broken so I pondered.

After pondering for a good long while, I held down the home button for several seconds. It took me to Voice Control, sounds powerful. Not having the best common sense at times, it took me a while to figure out that it wanted me to speak to it, and so I did. I spoke as if it would answer me.

Feeling like I had just solved some great secret of the world, I cleared my throat and said, “CONTACTS”.  Instead of arriving at the contact list, the phone started calling “Aunt Kaye”. Petrified, I hung up, thinking “what do I say?” , “tell your niece to meet me at the boardwalk or she’ll never see her phone again”? Still, she remained my backup plan.

Next, I tried to reach the address book. I said “ADDRESSES”, which led me directly to a very loud song by Michael Jackson. I yelled, “STOP”, but he kept singing. Finally, I turned the phone off and then on. I repeated this request, with the same result.  Within a minute of rebooting the second time, the owner of the phone called. She said she thought she’d never see it again. I thought I’d never get rid of it.

flip flop & glopflip flop & glop

Earth Day is the perfect time for a litter picking stroll on the sand, this time to the junction of Carolina and Kure Beaches.

Since the beaches are getting busier, with tourists and locals, little sand sculptures are easily found. Unfortunately, many include plastic bits and pieces that will be washed out to sea. For instance, my found work of art included a wad of green fishing line atop a hastily built tower.

People, please remember that what lays on the sand will eventually end up in a sea turtle’s stomach. I plucked the plastic tumbleweed from its castle tower and moved on. 

The cigarette butts (94 total) were half-submerged from the tide. Candy wrappers and taffy boxes were plentiful, too.

The crowning glory was a child’s flip flop, which had come to rest atop a (yes, another) inflated condom covered with blue goo. If someone knows of a sea creature that looks like a condom, please let me know [we have one vote for Man o' war], but I fear the worst; lust turns to litter. 

This is the dreaded first holiday weekend of the season. There will be Easter egg hunts, colored straw and chocolate bunny wrappers. People of all ages, please keep it clean. After all, would you want to swallow that which you left behind?

 
 
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