Saturday, December 4, 2010

Well, even after the BP Oil Spill and clean up crews leaving our beaches pristine--as far as we can see; people continue to litter. I don't understand why communities have to budget for clean up. If people would just pick up after their selves and once in awhile go out of their way to pick up what someone else leave's behind; it would eliminate the litter issue.

Thanks for being an example, Juan.

Juan allowed me to take his picture. He said, "What's the big deal?" I told him, you have no idea how it thrills me to watch someone carry their litter a few hundred feet and actually have it bagged and put it inside the trashcan. We need more people like him.

BP Clean-up crews are still a part of our beach landscape. Our air is regularly in the good zone according to Airnow ; though in the last few days air has been rated orange, or unsafe for sensitive people. I am not sure that has anything to do with the spill however as we have rated as low as 19 in the good range recently.

The shore water appears clear. It would just help so much if beach visitors would quit littering.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

P.A.L.S. Pick UP: Con't: Sources for Local Updates|Bp and the MS Gulf Coast|Plus original Photos

P.A.L.S. Pick UP: Con't: Sources for Local Updates|Bp and the MS Gulf Coast|Plus original Photos

P.A.L.S. Pick UP: Whose Problem Is It?

P.A.L.S. Pick UP: Whose Problem Is It?

Con't: Sources for Local Updates|Bp and the MS Gulf Coast|Plus original Photos

Click here for the 1st part of the story

Yesterday, I went to the beach at Long Beach Harbor fairly early. It was time for exercise and a Beach fix. I knew fishing had been closed down because of this sign posted around July 4th. 

I noticed a gathering of BP hires near the East side of the Harbor. I drove around to my normal walk routine/Beach pick-up area. On the 4th, only the sign was up. Now, the Pier is locked down.

It was very lonesome but gave me plenty of time for personal reflection. My Promenade has now become simply a beach walk for exercise and litter pick-up. (A few words about litter pick-up coming later). There are very few humans to interact with. Certainly not like a few days ago when I delighted in interacting with folks as I went about my exercise and pick-up routine.

Over a period of about a week I had noticed a strange accumulation of a substance that other's I talked to (non scientists) did not believe to be tar balls. We noticed the difference between these formations and the Tar Paddy's as demonstrated below.

Sorry, the color of the tar paddy did not turn out right. I am sure I will have ample opportunity to get a better shot of the tar paddy's. Anyway, the TP's tend to be a rich brown, or dark reddish brown color.

It happened that a Harrison County Beach Department Crew was riding by. So, I stopped them to ask there take on the subtance in the above photo. Well, they are not scientist's either but they showed me a sample they were taking back for analysis. That made me feel better. This substance was not a beach site before the spill. I felt that it had to be related in some way.

The clean up crew had obviously been there and were productive. However, with changing tides it is possible for new litter to appear soon after a clean up. So, I continued my normal pick-up using a plastic shopping bag over my hand as a glove.

I became concerned as the litter I was picking up was different. Several items I picked up were covered in what appeared to be burnt oil residue. I kept a look out for any official looking person to report to and made a mental note to report it later if I did not see anyone.

I only encountered one visiting family that left as soon as they saw the pier was in lock down. That alone is sobering.

Then I passed by 1 other couple. It was a bit comical as the woman stepped into a pocket of quick sand. She laughed. You should have seen her expression. Priceless!

I had just deposited my litter bag when a uniformed person approached me and asked me if I had deposited the bag. "Well, yes. Am I in trouble?" The young man, Robert, simply explained his concerns about safety.

He also made the point that litter and potential tar samples must be in separate bags. It is important because now they will examine some litter for residue such as what I had picked up--and they keep track of and weigh the tar pattys and/or undefined deposits.

It was then that I realized my attempt to help at this time could actually be more of a hindrance. I was a little ashamed I had picked up.

But, Robert was very kind and considerate and did not mean to make me feel that way. He listened to my concerns and made a few notes. We looked in the litter bag and I explained to him the difference in the coating of this litter compared to even a few days ago. He looked at and also made a note of the formations that to my knowledge have still not been identified.

He listened to my description of the bird population--which about ten days ago abandoned our section of the coast for about two days, then returned en-mass, now appears to have decreased again. (When our bird population is normal you will see a pelican almost every post and many flocks of Laughing Gulls and Herrons. It can be SO loud, you would think you were in Jurassic Park).

That evening my husband pointed out this headline at the Sunheald Web site.

Tar mats ‘size of school buses’

Long Beach, Hancock County beaches hit by most oil ever

 - Sun Herald

Read more:

When Robert and I returned from our stroll we washed up at the newly installed wash-up station installed at the Jim Simpson Pier area. I hope when all of this is over we get to keep the wash up station. It will always be helpful to litter obsessed PAL Pick-up People.

In closing, I will say for now my Beach Litter Pick-Up will be delayed until I can be certain that I actually am helping rather then getting in the way of the comprehensive clean-up efforts. There will likely be less litter now because fewer people will visit the beach. I think I would rather have more litter to pick-up and more people around enjoying the beach.

However, I vow that no matter where I walk, I will "Leave no Trace of My Visit", and I will pick up what is in front of me if I am able. I hope you will join me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Whose Problem Is It?

One of my psychology professors taught a lesson through the game, "Whose problem is it?" What it boiled down to--if it bothers me or another individual, the problem belongs to the one bothered.

Outdoor litter in public places bothers me. Noticing litter always decreases my enjoyment of nature. So, I pick up. It doesn't matter who left it or why. If it is there, and I am able--I pick up.

This action does not in itself, make me a good person. I don't need a photo op or any other media attention. It helps me because picking up gets rid of the irritation, in part. I have had some interesting adventures in picking up, this is my reward.

However, I do have a dream. I believe we can encourage others to do the same by our example. We need to prove that litter needs to be picked up on an ongoing basis. People should not wait for a group gathering to pick up, nor should we wait for a huge non profit organized event to pick up. We need to "Do it now. Do it where we are. Do it when we see it."

My dream is to get some corporate sponsorship to get out Pro-Pick-UP, Pro-Leave No Trace messages. If we had an interesting design, short and catchy that would also appeal to teens and children--and give them out free at the beach and other public places, I think it would make a difference.

How About: Be a PAL. Pick-UP.
Or even just the Public domain Logo:

placed on visors, arm bands, buttons. What do you think?