Seems like it’s always the same — the same people making the mess, and the same people working to clean it up.
The Friends of Tigertail Beach (FOT) were out on Saturday morning, picking up trash as part of Coastal Cleanup, a county-wide, and indeed global, effort to keep our shores from being covered by garbage.
“We had so many people, it was great,” said FOT stewardship chairman Susan LaGrotta. “We’ve had 47 volunteers, and there are still a couple out there.”
Many of the people doing the cleanup were veterans who show up time after time to help.
Asked how long he’s been at this, science teacher Marty Roddy had to stop and think. His wife Debbie is FOT president.
“How long have we been here, five or six years,” he said. “We did the far end of the beach, all the way down the inside, and back on the outside. It took about two hours.”
Along with mismatched flip flops and crab traps, Marty reported, he did find “one unopened beer can, but it was full of water” — pinholes had allowed the original contents to leak out. “A lot of stuff is coming from the sailboat that sank out on Sand Dollar,” he said. The 28-foot craft has broken up and is spreading its debris up and down the coast.
Kelsey Taylor, 11, of Marco Island, was one of 12 members of Girl Scout Troop 389, led by Scout Leader Patty Poling, who were up bright and early participating in the cleanup.
“We found bottles, baby diapers, baby wipes, beer cans, and a lot of candy wrappers. It’s important to clean our beaches, because if we don’t, then sea turtles could eat stuff, and it would hurt the environment.”
Kelsey Taylor, volunteer
“We found bottles, baby diapers, baby wipes, beer cans, and a lot of candy wrappers. It’s important to clean our beaches, because if we don’t, then sea turtles could eat stuff, and it would hurt the environment,” said Taylor. After they finished with the clean up and received their tee shirts and certificates of appreciation, the girls made a beeline for the playground.
As always, one major component of the junk removed from the beach was cigarette butts.
“We have a butt bandit here,” said Carol Buckler, Lead Park Ranger for Tigertail Beach. “They dump buckets of butts.” Most of the butts collected were in the kiosk area, directly adjacent to the trash container placed there to receive them, said LaGrotta.
“You always see this,” added Marty Roddy. “Some people think the world is their ashtray.”
In all, 214 cigarette butts were collected, along with 208 food wrappers and 113 beverage cans. These three categories were the most “popular” trash items. A total of total of 20 large bags of trash were filled with a broad variety of jetsam including plastic bags, sunglasses, towels, buoys, underwear, shoes, toys, a plastic crate and a five-foot beach umbrella. All of the items were carefully tabulated, and the data is being forwarded to the Ocean Conservancy and Keep Collier Beautiful, the county initiative which spearheaded the day’s activities countywide.
In addition to the cleanup at Tigertail Beach and Rookery Bay, boats were scheduled to head out for cleanups from Cedar Bay and Calusa Bay marinas, and kayaks were available on the Isles of Capri.
The volunteers will be back again in December for the last of the four cleanups scheduled every year. For more information on the FOT, go to Friends of Tigertail.com.