This past Saturday I participated in the Great American Cleanup Day in
conjunction with my husband’s company Florida Power and Light (FPL)
Power to Care event held at John D. MacArthur Park in Singer Island.
It was a company family event where participants wore matching FPL
Power to Care green volunteer shirts and yes my son was adorable in
his little shirt dubbed as a volunteer-in-training. If you are
interested in the general information on Keeping America Beautiful
Inc, including their most recent campaign you can check out their
webpage at www.kab.org
I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder concerning beach cleanups mostly
because I consider them to be an ineffective means of keeping our
shores clear of trash on a regular basis but also for the reason that
Saturday mornings were always a tough day for me to be available.
Still, I’m glad I joined my son and husband for the FPL team event as
I was able to participate and witness the pros and cons of a beach
As a side note, did you know that the beach is also known as the GIANT
public access ashtray? I find it unbelievable every time I step foot
on the sandy shores of Florida that I always end up stepping on a
cigarette butt of some sort. Is it truly that difficult to take your
empty water bottle, fill it with sand and then dump your butts into it
and toss into the trash bin on your way out from the beach? Talk
about the perils of your child playing in the sand.
Back to beach cleanup, we entered the beach and were handed gloves,
bags and these tools that grab the trash in an extended fashion so you
don’t have to bend over. The gloves I accepted and after about a
minute I ended up returning the trash contraption because I just don’t
think it’s helpful.
During a beach cleanup, the bulky trash items are picked up en masse
in less than fifteen minutes. The reality is that there is still a
load of trash available to pick up but it must be sorted through by
hand, the tools will just slow you down.
Instead I recommend cleaning methods like getting on your knees next
to a pile of wet or dry seaweed with good gloves on. Proceed to turn
that seaweed/debris pile over and you will find more trash than you
imagined there at first glance.
Looking around during the beach cleanup I was disheartened to see that
folks weren’t really looking for garbage unless it jumped out at them.
While searching through the piles of seaweed myself, I was astonished
at how much is hidden in the shorelines and overwhelmed that it seemed
it never can get clean enough.
We were told by one of the wildlife officers that a majority of the
trash they find every year is caused by the cruise ships offshore. I
vaguely remember someone in the past telling me that the cruise ships
do end up dumping debris while at sea, although I can’t remember if it
was just limited to sewage or what not. That completely horrifies me
and there must be a way to help stop that practice sooner rather than
I was glad that my son got to see other people picking up trash on the
beach since most of the time he only sees his mama doing that when we
go to the beach together. I don’t want to be a naysayer against beach
cleanups, they are a good team building experience for work and
schools, I just wish people could take that mentality with them when
they go to the beach themselves.
If you have the opportunity to participate in a beach cleanup, go for
it with an open heart and mind. You may find it to be more rewarding
than first thought, I certainly did and if nothing else learned how to
better find debris to trash.