Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Something Plastic This Way Comes!





Last Sunday morning a friend sent me a text message inviting our family to join her family at the beach. My husband had already gone out for the day, so N and I were elated to have something to do. We changed out of our church clothes, and into our bathing suits. I had just hung the suits on the clothesline to dry 30 minutes ago. The 100 degree temperature that day had almost completely dried them. N grabbed her pink sunglasses my husband purchased for her at the last Turnpike rest stop during our driving vacation to Bush Gardens/Water Country in Virginia last week. I packed the “Hawaiian” Beach bag from Aruba with the bare beach essentials – sunblock, towels, sunglasses, book, and iPhone. Then I dumped my favorite beach chair and umbrella into the back of the SUV. N requested a Beyonce CD, and I drove toward the Parkway. It was a perfect day to go to the beach. Here we go!

As usual the GPS had me totally lost, but we managed to find our friends anyway. We parked in the #50 spot, and walked a half block to the join our friends at a beach side restaurant. N had a hot dog with fries, and I had the most delicious crab stuffed shrimp with potato wedges. We enjoyed a perfect view of the waterfront as we ate, and it was a perfect day at the beach.

Afterwards we walked to our cars to get the beach gear. To my surprise, there was no fee to enter the beach. What is going on? Have we left NJ? First I only pay $1 hour to park, and now the beach is free. I love this place. We set up “beach camp” right at the shore line. I was so close to the water, I could see N play with her friend without worry. Sometime later N and I took a walk down the beach to see what we could see, so we walked along the water's edge laughing and kicking our feet through the water. As much fun as it was to take this discovery walking journey with N, it was twice as shocking to see the plethora of plastic garbage at the water’s edge as we walked. There were plastic garbage bags, plastic soda bottles, plastic water bottles, plastic potato chip bags, and mounds of green “tissue paper like” seaweed. I couldn’t explain all the seaweed, but the plastic garbage was very explainable. 

“Plastic bags end up as litter that fouls the landscape, and kill thousands of marine mammals every year that mistake the floating bags for food. Plastic bags that get buried in landfills may take up to 1,000 years to break down, and in the process they separate into smaller and smaller toxic particles that contaminate soil and water. Furthermore, the production of plastic bags consume millions of gallons of oil that could be used for fuel and heating.” - http://environment.about.com/od/recycling/a/reusablebags.htm

Was it a coincidence that all the beach garbage was plastic? Why aren’t more people concerned about this “plastic” environmental problem? What could I do to help the marine ecosystem? 

I would like to here your suggestions too. Please leave your comments below. I am looking forward to reading your responses.

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