Posted on June 30 2023
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha
Greetings Sea Fans! Welcome to the 6th installment of a Year of Trash! I wanted to take a moment now that we are halfway through this journey to highlight some wins so far. Over the last 6 months, 71 pounds of trash have been removed by the Sea Fans Clean-Up Crew. We have also donated $600 directly to beach clean-up initiatives. Something that personally I think is a great success but a little more difficult to quantify is the knowledge and awareness that has been spread during this timeframe by continued efforts, and community outreach like our big Earth Day event. I always wish for more, but I am so proud of what has been accomplished already!
Now to the real story that you all came here for, what happened this month during the clean up?? Did I finally get rained on or blown away with my white bucket? No, sorry, this is a happy story. This clean up took place on a breezy, sunny summer evening. Fortunately, I was not dodging rain clouds this month! I was lucky enough to have company on this clean up. Normally I go into these clean ups alone because I never know where they will lead or how long they will take, but I never turn down a good clean-up buddy! A graduate student from my lab at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory agreed to come along with me. Her name is Molly and she is working with the impact of windfarms on commercial fisheries. She is brilliant, and I look forward to her contributions to the research world! Molly and I started our efforts back at Fort Maurepas parking lot where my May clean up started, and again we hardly left the area immediately surrounding my car because we were finding trash that had been left behind for some reason or another. Molly was amazed at the amount of trash that was hiding in the bushes in front of the parking area. I hated to tell her that I had cleaned that same area only about a month prior. There were fewer clothing articles this month, but more food wrappers, bottles, and cans. I got the opportunity to interact with a few residents who also spend spare time picking up trash, it’s always nice to meet a fellow raindrop!
From Fort Maurepas, Molly and I traveled down to the area by Front Beach near the Biloxi Bridge that I have been canvasing for cigarette butts since starting this blog. It really doesn’t feel like a clean up if I don’t visit that area, even if briefly while the sun is fading. While we did find cigarette butts, I did find the area to look better than before my efforts. Cigarette butts will be something that never goes away completely, so in my mind a reduction is still a big win. Every month I look for improvement in the area and I add a new collection to the sack of cigarette butts I am collecting in my garage to turn in for recycling. Never stop collecting!
As this installment comes to a close, I want to leave you with just a few thoughts. Trash might be the 4th thing that cannot be long hidden as long as there are people out there willing to check in the bushes! If there will always be trash and cigarette butts, there must always be people out there to spend time keeping their habitats clean.
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