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litter from Lake FayettevilleDifferent year, same story. On the bright side, the number of participants for the Lake Fayetteville Cleanup is increasing. There were several groups of people with trash bags in hand and ready to venture down the rocky ledges and into the muck at the edge of the lake.

As usual, I found many plastic items where people sit and fish. Why they don’t bother to pick up their trash is beyond me. Honestly, would they want to eat a fish that had eaten tiny bits of plastic, cigarettes, and other debris?

group of young people below bridgeAmong the record-breaking 250 volunteers, there were groups of young people who descended the steep muddy slopes to grab litter below the bridge. I believe this was the first cleanup that I didn’t slide down there myself, so I was happy to see that this area was not neglected.

There has been no word yet on the amount of trash collected, but with this many volunteers and the amount of litter, we might have broken the record.

litter on Lake FayettevilleThis photo shows why we need our fall and spring cleanups on Lake Fayetteville and other watersheds. This was one of the many areas where litter washes up on the shore.

This mix of plastics was retrieved during the Fall 2014 Lake Fayetteville Cleanup. If you’re interested in volunteering to keep the lake clean and safe for all species, check the Lake Fayetteville Watershed Partnership website for volunteer opportunities.  The work isn’t glamorous, but it sure is important and you’ll make the ducks and herons and turtles smile.

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.

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