Beautiful, amazing walk during low tide today, which adds 30 yards of USACE-certified, post Sandy beach (I’ll leave that topic alone for now). Everything feels good and thankful, with squawking gulls and a few salty fishermen wading deep into the low breakers, casting for stripers. ‘Tis the season.
Then the pileup begins: I notice an unnatural blue hue protruding from the sand as tiny wavelets lap over it – a half-gallon ziplock bag, way out of place. This becomes my receptacle for periodic plastic bottles or styrofoam packing peanuts (hate those) that I always find along my stroll. But today is VERY different, and very disheartening.
I see the shredded ends of some clear plastic blowing in the breeze, figure it’s another bag. I pull on it, and it yanks me back. Pull harder, and begin to loosen plastic sheeting from the sand, 8ft x 2ft. I find 2 of these. I come across the shrink wrap to a case of bottled water and home insulation plastic packaging. Then a 6ft strip of heavy duty rubber is floating at water’s edge, like an eel, only a casting length away from a group of fishermen. I got it, you stay there.
Understand this trash trove would be, during high tide, under the water’s surface, potentially decomposing for centuries.
Sorry, it’s annoying. By the time I finish my walk, I’m carrying POUNDS of debris. With permission from a few home construction guys, I toss the weight into a big dumpster. Feel good about my efforts, yet I have no idea the final resting place of all that waste.
Today’s photo caption speaks volumes about our abuse of the ocean:
“Remember that garbage compactor scene in ‘Star Wars’? Yeah, it’s something like that.”
Photo: Thanks to Beatrice Murch! https://www.flickr.com/photos/blmurch/