Posts Tagged ‘Beach debris’

Keep it off Trash Island!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Please enjoy this guest post by our friend Alexandra Ringe:

I spent this past week hunting plastic on the beach of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida. The Atlantic Ocean has its own version of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and I redirected as much plastic detritus as I could from the shore to, well, the landfill.

Wish you were here

I couldn’t stand the thought of walking by a plastic bag that would later drift out to the undulating mass of petroleum product sitting in the Sargasso Sea, maybe choking a bird along the way.

I could let you think that this is a new obsession of mine, this attention to the beach’s accumulation of straws, candy wrappers, kegger cups, and everything else we make out of plastic. But that would be wrong. I grew up in Ventnor, New Jersey, about 100 ft. from the boardwalk. Whenever we went to the beach, my mother picked up other people’s litter in addition to our own trash. “Leave it better than when you found it” — that was her response to our neighbors’ quizzical looks.

Although she talked to me and my siblings about the impact of human garbage on marine life, my mom was driven only in part by a concern for the environment. She applied the “Leave it better” principle at the movie theater and the rest-stop picnic table, too — she felt responsible for the experience of the next person to come along. Her approach expands on the hiker’s “pack it in, pack it out” credo — if you bring something into the woods, you are honor-bound to take it out again — in a way that works especially well for the beach.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL

A good deal of the trash I encounter doesn’t belong to negligent beachgoers. It blows in from the streets, floats in from boats and ships, or is too small and light to be caught by the tractor-like beach-cleaning machines that skim litter from the sand. Thanks to my mom, I have always seen this vagabond trash as ours, something I need to help pick up. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It feels too good to keep that chunk of crumbling styrofoam out of the sea.

The Daily Ocean

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Most mornings, Sarah Bayles spends 20 minutes collecting trash around the same spot at her local beach in Santa Monica, weighs and photographs what she finds and blogs about it on her site The Daily Ocean. For more on why she does this, check out LA Green Girl’s interview with Bayles here.

Lighter via The Daily Ocean

Lighter via The Daily Ocean

Bayles plans to keep up the trash pick up for 365 (non-consecutive) days because you know how we love to conceptualize our environmental impact in terms of years. What I like about this project is a, there’s a new garblog in town and b, it’s a personal but not personality-driven project. The blog tracks the impact of everyone who uses that patch of beach as well as the reverse impact of the one person cleaning it up.

via 365 Days of Trash

The photos on The Daily Ocean are a bit like a West Coast Version of Last Night’s Garbage and remind me of Any Hughes’ amazing beach debris photography.

Trash = Class

Friday, June 5, 2009

The headline to the latest Guardian UK photo series In Pictures says it all: “World’s poor overwhelmed by rubbish.”


Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

UPDATE: See also this horrifying slideshow in e-waste in West Africa via Waking Vixen‘s Facebook page.

Fishing trash bad for fish

Friday, May 15, 2009

While fishing as such is an agricultural practice with the ultimate goal of catching and killing fish, i.e. not fantastic for fish to begin with, fishing gear dumped at the bottom of lakes and oceans are killing fish even after the actual fishing stops, says a UN report.

Photographer: Jane Dermer, Carpentaria Ghost Nets,

Photographer: Jane Dermer, Carpentaria Ghost Nets,

Apparently, discarded fishing gear compromises about 10%, or 640 000 tonnes,  of all sea trash, creating a situation of so-called “ghost fishing”, when innocent maritime  denizens happily enjoying off-season swim into discarded nets and related rubble, ending their lives in highest indignity. In the report, several pressures on fishers are named as contributing to this terrible situation, namely

Enforcement pressure causing those operating illegally to abandon gear; operational
and weather making it more likely that gear will be left or discarded; economic pressure leading to dumping of unwanted fishing gear at sea rather than disposal onshore; and spatial pressures resulting in the loss or damage of gear through gear conflicts. Indirect causes include the unavailability of onshore waste disposal facilities, as well as their accessibility and cost of use.

As seen, fishing trash management isn’t working out that well. The report suggests preventive efforts and says that mitigation is crucial, etc. We could also just stop fishing, but while poverty exists, one might need to recognize that’s not a very realistic scenario.

Lastly, extracurricular nerd info: The report teaches us a new acronym; ALDFG (Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear)!

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