When the tide is low and the sand is damp and made for walking, there’s nothing I love more than taking a long, long stroll along the shore.
I’ve lived near the beach for more than 25 years so my house is a testament to my love of the shore: seashells and beach glass fill jars and windowsills.
I’ve found curious items during my walks — some printed with foreign languages, some seemingly tossed overboard and a few obviously of an illegal nature.
But it seems that these days, the thing I find the most is plastic: sheets of Visqueen, wrappers from bags of ice, water and soda bottles, lengths of rope (all sizes) and lots and lots of straws.
As I walk along this time of year and count the turtle tracks, all I can think is how these items must appear floating in the ocean. No doubt, they look a lot like jellyfish and other favorite turtle food. How many endangered turtles succumb to these deadly apparitions?
Thankfully we have local groups who voluntarily pick up trash from our beaches. But they depend on volunteers and can’t be on all of our beaches with any real regularity. They are to be applauded, but what they pick up is just a drop in the sand pail of the plastic that washes ashore each day.
Also to be applauded is the Delray Beach Commission. At its June 21 meeting there was discussion on a proposal to allow sales of bottled water at the municipal beach. Luckily, we’ve elected officials who use that beach and understand concerns about plastics on our shores and in our ocean. They voted this down.
As one person, it feels naïve to believe I can make a difference: I’m trying to reduce my plastic consumption. I recycle. I find littering to be abhorrent and I’ve started picking up the plastic I find along the shore.
Still, I hang on to the idea that maybe I can save one turtle, and maybe that one turtle will return to lay her eggs, and maybe those eggs will safely incubate in dry sand.
And maybe on my morning walk I’ll find the signature waterfall of tiny hatchling tracks heading back into the sea. — Mary Kate Leming, Editor