|Casino Beach at Pensacola Beach|
|The total haul from the day|
First, the lack of bags. There are so many plastic bags being handed out, do we really do that great of a job cleaning them up and keeping them off of the beach? No, they just likely are blown away either. Most of the items I picked up had some weight to them so they would bury in the sand or be taken out to sea. The bags I found were up caught in the foliage in the dunes. One strong gust and they would be out in the water and out to sea.
Second, I was shocked by how many straws I found. It makes sense with the number of bars that serve drinks with straws, but I wasn’t expecting to find over seventy! Most of them I found right outside the restaurants themselves. Don’t they have people to help keep their grounds clean? The water was 200 yards away! And apparently there is a video out there of a sea turtle with a straw up his nose and humans helping him to get it out. I don’t want to watch it because people have said it’s graphic, but that’s up to 70 turtles I prevented from having that fate.
Third, I was surprised how difficult it was to tell the difference between plastic and shell. Often the inside of a shell would be smooth and look like a piece of plastic. Once I flipped it over it was easy to see it was a shell, but other times I had to really look to tell it was a shell. If I can’t tell the difference there is no way an unsuspecting marine animal could tell. Obviously this was with white plastic, It was quite easy to notice little bits of blue, purple and yellow weren’t natural. However, fish, drawn to bright colors might mistake the plastic for a tasty treat.
|Bits of plastic found during beach cleanup|