We are fortunate in Oregon to have an organization called SOLVE that organizes Oregon beach cleanup along the entire coastline twice a year. Over 5,000 volunteers spend the day collecting trash while commercial haulers and trash collection companies donate their time and equipment to dispose of the debris. Thousands of pounds of trash are hauled off each time there is a beach cleanup.
Can you imagine what our beautiful coastline would look like without the time and commitment of these people and organizations? I certainly appreciate having pristine beaches for visitors to Yachats.
But, why do we have the need for organized beach cleanup?
How did we create this mess in the first place?
“One of Dustin Hoffman’s early movies, The Graduate, has a brief, but prophetic scene that I have always remembered. At his college graduation party hosted by his parents, an older friend of the family, Mr. McGuire, pulls Ben (Dustin’s character) aside to give him this private, and apparently very important, advice for his future. “Plastics. There is a great future in plastics!”
Fast forward about 50 years. We have learned the consequence of the fact that plastic does not decompose.
Plastic does not decompose.
Instead, it continues to break down into smaller and smaller components, but never really goes away. Plastic debris and other trash from a variety of sources move in ocean currents, sometimes trapped for years in large circulating currents called gyres. One such gyre is named, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is hundreds of miles away from our Central Oregon Coast, but tons of other debris, including plastic trash, washes onto our shores, via tides.
We are fortunate in Oregon to have an organization called SOLVE that organizes beach cleanup along the entire coastline twice a year.
Events around the world affect our beaches.
In 2016, remains of many plastic containers found their way to our Central Oregon beaches from the 2011 earthquake in Japan. One day I found a large chunk of a blue plastic container on the rocky shore that I promptly delivered to the recycle drop. I believe it fell off a ship at sea. It looked so very ugly lying in the serene little cove near our house.
Littering on purpose!
Another especially disturbing contributor of beach trash is deliberate littering by humans. Yes, us guys again. Empty beer bottles and food containers and other trash can sometimes be found dumped in the brush along beach trails. Grrrr! I do not understand the littering on purpose mindset!
So, how do we take care of this mess?
Concerned citizens and businesses are developing techniques and building equipment to begin the monumental task of removing plastic debris from our oceans. Dedication, money and time are required in order to make much headway. It is important that we each do our part to control what kind of trash we create. Disposing of trash, specifically plastic trash, is an endless cycle that will require the efforts of us all in order to control this pollution problem.
I appreciate having pristine beaches to enjoy as I wander about this little piece of paradise. I invite you to come to Yachats and enjoy the beaches and ocean views for yourself. We homeowners and residents do our part to try to keep them clean. April 1 is designated for Oregon beach cleanup this spring. Visit the SOLVE website to volunteer.
I invite you to stay at my vacation rental home, the Sea Anemone, when you are in Yachats. We are just two minutes from the beach where you can take in the majesty of the Pacific Ocean. And, “The Graduate” DVD is available in the loft!
Our house, where memories begin….