A Beachcomber’s Blog
By Linda Leitich
East Beach is my idea of paradise; with strawberry fields, sandy rolling dunes and shining silver logs that stretch on for over 70 km’s. I love to be out there to greet the sunrise as the rays start to climb over the horizon of the mainland. In the last year and a half, I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time nestled in along this shore. As weekend warriors we packed up the tent, loaded the cooler and tossed the dogs into the truck to head out to East beach every chance we got.
My partner, Dann Braman, and I have been cleaning this section of beach since November 2013 and together have brought home 62 gigantic loads of debris that were strewn along the shores.
With horrifying privilege we’ve watched, and learned to predict, the ebb and flow of the debris landing on our beaches. We’ve seen the piles of Styrofoam and bottles deepen, and we’ve seen the piles explode beyond the shoreline blowing up well into the forest after the dunes eroded and allowed it passage.
People often ask for stories of the cool things we may be finding. I wish I had grand tales to share, I’ve had a few “messages in a bottle” and some glass balls; but other than that, what lies out there holds no glamour. I can’t show anyone a plastic bottle with Japanese writing on it, that once held bleach and ask them to share my belief that its presence is amazing.
What lies out there are piles of Styrofoam, bottles, containers of every shape, size and purpose and fishing gear; a lot of it.
If it wasn’t designed to have a relationship with liquid; like a bottle for example, it has not made it to our shores in any recognizable form.
Fluffing up the piles of debris are tiny bits of plastic, maybe at one time these bits fit together to make something meaningful but after years in the ocean they are now just pencil shavings from another country and culture.
With a small amount of funding provided from our local Tsunami committee, combined with a healthy balance of volunteer work from myself and Dann we’ve been able to cover our costs for bringing in this garbage.
However the funding has dried up before the debris has stopped swamping our delicate paradise.
With more flotsam washing ashore every day we’re scrambling to find ways to continue bringing it in and stop it from becoming a permanent fixture on the beach.
As a temporary solution I’ve started a GoFundMe page in an effort to keep us in action.
This problem was created by a natural disaster; it was no one’s fault. Every country around the pacific is vulnerable to such an event and we should share responsibility for the problem respectfully, as if we were family members.
Helping out can be as easy as SHARING this link online, donating, or bringing a garbage bag with you every time you go to the beach.