It’s winter, not the high season for northern beaches. But the winter beach is beautiful and interesting. The slope is steeper, the colors are different. The sharp wind wakes you up. The high tides crashing waves, and steady breezes of winter move more than grains of sand and your whipping hair around. They also move trash.
So this is a great time of year to clean the beach. Here on Whidbey, Beach Watchers hold Beach Litter Pickup Parties during January and February. This is a good excuse to get out there in the elements, get some fresh air, and do a world of good. We’ve all seen the pictures of trash collecting on tropical beaches, in the center of the ocean and in the guts of sea birds and whales. More and more people want to do something to change that picture.
Banning plastic bags and avoiding buying beverages in plastic bottles is one part of the equation. Removing the debris that’s already in the water is another. The simplest way for most folks to help with the latter is by cleaning the beach.
(Cleaning) party on the beach, worldwide.
There are beach cleanup events going on all the time, around the world. Many beach communities have a party after the party on July 5th. Keepers of the Coast does beach cleanup events in Florida. And cleanup doesn’t have to take long. Every month Long Beach California holds a 30 Minute Beach Cleanup. I was in the other Long Beach, here in Washington, for 4th of July 2011 and the whole town was decked out for beach cleanup day on the 5th. Ocean Conservancy lists ongoing Coastal Cleanups.
For Solitary Beach Walkers
It doesn’t take a party of course, every walk on the beach can be a mini cleanup if you bring something (No, No, Not a plastic bag!) to put refuse in.
Personally I find remembering to bring a carrier of some kind on my beach walks just as hard as remembering to bring my cloth bags to the grocery store, so I always return home with my pockets full and a couple of larger things tucked under my arm.