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Written by Kelsey Kuykendall


Posted on May 26 2023

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.” Buddha

One month later I was excited and anxious as I returned to the site of our Earth Day Beach Clean Up. It took me several attempts to clean this month. Every afternoon there were isolated thunderstorms looming in the distance. As my week on the coast was coming to a close, I decided to do the best I could and if a storm came, I would deal with it. Anything is better than nothing and I only had one more evening left!

Typically, I part on the curb at Front Beach, but this time I parked in the parking lot of Fort Maurepas Park. There is a small bathhouse there I could seek shelter in should I end up getting foiled by raindrops while trying to be a raindrop (if this doesn’t sound familiar go read the first blog post)! The moment I pulled up, I realized I was in the right place. There was litter everywhere! In addition to the usual suspects of cigarette butts and food wrappers, the new major contributor to my trash haul was clothing. I found enough clothing during my walk from the parking lot to the bridge to make a complete, yet tragically mismatched, outfit. Depending on the fabric content, clothing can take as long as 200 years to disintegrate and it sheds microfibers during the entire process. Aside from losing your favorite T-shirt, a long-term waste item has now been added to the area. I also found shoes and flip flops, which contain their own set of issues as far as biodegradability is concerned.

At the end of my clean up, I had collected 4.5 lbs of trash and I had also managed to stay completely dry! I added cigarette butts to the collection that will be recycled at the end of the year and spotted a few additional places that would be well served by a receptacle for the butts. I know I said this last month (and the one before), but I have big plans for this issue, and I am working on the best way to address it. I was happy to see that a youth group was coming onto the beach as I was departing with bags and pinchers in hand to clean the area! Always nice to see fellow raindrops out there flooding the world with good!

On my last day on the coast, I decided to go for one more walk down Front Beach. As I retraced my steps from the day before, everything still looked clean just as it had been left. It wasn’t until I made it back down to Fort Maurepas that I saw not one but FIVE water bottles at the volleyball net where I had cleaned up, but also the young group of volunteers had been. Does this make you angry? It should! This is where persistence becomes key. There will always be litter from one source or another. Some of the litter is completely accidental, maybe the chip bag that blew away from your beach blanket without you knowing or that flip flop that you thought you tucked into your bag. The counter to this is that there must always be people willing to take the time to clean up their surroundings. We must be persistent in our effort to reduce single use items that in turn become one of the most popular waste items. We must be persistent in the little things we do each day to live a little greener. If your efforts are using reusable grocery bags, remember that every single time you use that bag, you kept a plastic single use bag from being needed. Reusable water bottles are another excellent way to be diligent in the fight against single use plastics and litter sources. In time the effects will add up, but we must be determined!

If you have made it this far, I hope that you enjoyed this month’s edition of A Year o Trash. I also hope that you are feeling inspired to start making changes in your world that can help impact the rest of the world! Keep being persistent and let those changes become habits. I’ll leave you with a quote from a very great researcher I once knew, “Keep persevering!” Thanks Sea Fans, see ya next month!



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