The evening beach clean-up after Labor Day brought many residents to the beach, along with young members of Cub Scout Pack 234. According to Megan Olsen, Assistant Cub Master, “One way for the boys to earn their Bobcat badge is to perform community service. The beach clean-up was a good lesson for the boys. They did find a lot of water bottle caps, beer caps, cigarette butts and some straws.” Nick Wagner, Director of Beach Experience for JW Marriott brought in a crew from Quinn’s, his two boys and Spa Manager Julie Ronimous.
Late August and early September brought in a lot of rain, strong wind and high tides to our beaches. A steady flow of day trippers also visited our beaches over the three-day Labor Day weekend. Knowing trash will be plentiful, the Beach Advisory Committee and volunteers armed with buckets, grabbers and gloves, and were ready to clean up our beaches.
A group followed the dune line while others headed towards the wrack line along the shore. The wind blew trash to the dunes, and dune grasses act as nets and trap plastic wrappers, stirrers, straws and plastic bags.
A wrack line is all that weird stuff washed on our beaches from the open sea. Tides, winds and the storm can bring in a bountyof treasures; the good kind: shells, sponges, seeds, mangrove leaves, seagrass, crabs and food for the shorebirds. But the incoming tide can also bring in a lot of trash, such as bottle caps, plastic straws, water bottles and plastic wrappers. Day trippers also leave trash, intentionally or unintentionally.
If you see one plastic bottle cap, the tendency is to pick it up and blame the offender for their carelessness. But if you see 100 bottle caps, where do you start? The enormity may either prevent you from doing something, or you start with one bottle cap and keep going.
Beach Stewards and regular beach goers who walk our beaches each morning are faced with this dilemma. Just as you filled one bag– you see more trash peaking from a pile of seagrass or dumped by the dune line.
The evening clean-up time went by so fast one did not have time to think of the deadly impact trash has on the marine life. Trash also has a negative impact on our number 1 economic driver – Marco Island’s pristine beach.
Please join our Beach Stewardship Training Program scheduled for September 28th at 9 AM. Training is provided by the Beach Advisory Committee and the Marco Island Police Department. For more information, please contact Samantha Malloy by phone: 239-389-3917 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.