Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Beach Cleanup

We moved our beach cleaning forward by one week at the request of the On Surfari team, who wanted to document the event. Since neither the human race nor the ocean are running out of garbage, the beaches had already accumulated enough fresh trash to overpower and exhaust approximately thirty volunteers from the community.

I missed the first cleanup; but from what Elie says, there were fewer large pieces of plastic waste this time around, which may have contributed to the lower number of rice bags full of trash that we collectively gathered. Many people returned to help us for the second time in a row, including the traditional chief of the Uptown village and the RCW sponsored surfers (pictured below in a state of empty-wave induced distraction). The expatriate surf scene was also much better represented this time around.

The bag I am holding below probably weighs fifty or sixty pounds. In the three weeks between the last cleanup and the one depicted here, well over fifteen bags of this garbage washed up on a stretch of beach that is less than a kilometer long. If we had been patient enough to pick through all the shredded, soft plastic that results from the pinches of oil, kerosene, salt, and everything else that are sold to inhabitants of the poverty line for a few pennies, we could have filled another fifteen--and if we rounded the corner towards town and the armada of fishing boats, I can't imagine how many other bags we would have filled.

Even the day after the cleanup, a bag or more worth of new large filth was on our small stretch of stewarded beach. Thinking about those giant swirling masses of ocean waste is super depressing. How many bags would that be and then where would we put them?

Thanks to everyone for their help, support and participation! All photographs courtesy of Sean Brody.

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