My most colorful treasures from an afternoon at the Rockport Beach. Typically, I just find trash. Since my compulsion to pick up litter began in toddlerhood, I quickly realized I had to bring along a bag. It just isn’t in my nature to walk on by. My first few outings were defined by odd findings. One day I collected enough fake fingernails to make a full (non-matching) set. The following day it was adhesive bandages (gross). The next, elastic hair ties. I surmise they are all things that fall off in salt water.
Those items were dwarfed in number by bits of plastic and, of course, the ever ubiquitous cigarette butts. Recently, I’ve noticed the benefit of my efforts, as I am no longer filling my bag during my daily beach stroll. Thankfully, the barrier islands of San Jose and Mustang catch debris floating in the Gulf of Mexico, thereby, protecting Aransas Bay.
A bit further south the situation is much more grim. Since Padre Island National Seashore is located at the bend of the Gulf Coast where currents converge, the shoreline is constantly bombarded by floating trash. Two weeks ago the park held the 24th Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup. Over 1400 volunteers pitched in to remove close to 75 tons (yes, 150,000 pounds) of trash. This is the same stretch of sand that endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles nest on. What a distressing juxtaposition!