JULY 25, 2006 -- When I made my home here several years ago, I spent my walks along the beach looking for sharks' teeth and built quite a collection. Now my time walking on the beach is spent collecting trash left behind by thoughtless beach-goers who leave bottles, cans, food wrappers, cigarette butts, coffee cups, straws, and no, I'm not kidding, soiled diapers and used condoms. It's mind-boggling to me that anyone attracted to spend a day at one of our beaches would leave their garbage strewn all over.
It gets worse around the 4th of July, when the fireworks debris is added to the beach trash. As if the unsightliness of it all weren't enough, much of the trash left between the low and high tide points floats out into the ocean where it endangers all types of marine life like sea turtles and dolphins that can't tell the difference between a jellyfish and a piece of floating plastic.
Don't be a part of the problem. If you pack it in on your trip to the beach, pack it out as well. Put your cigarettes out in the sand, but put the butts in your trash bag. If you're going for a walk along the beach, take a trash bag and pick up some of the litter left behind by people who are less caring. It's a good feeling to leave the beach a little cleaner than when you arrived.