Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tank Beach

This past Saturday, I went out to see Tank Beach for my first time since I have been on the island. I went along with Denise, who teaches children's classes on Saturday mornings to a group of kids in Kagman.

At about 9:00 am we had seven kids and the two of us, and we partnered the kids off and gave each set of 'buddies' a bag. I had another bag for Denise and I but didn't bring any extras. We figured we would spend about an hour out there and then head back to the house, only a short five minute walk away from the beach.

We got down to Tank Beach. It looked like a boat carrying plastic containers had dumped its load into the ocean of our coast. The tide line contained as much minuscule broken plastic pieces as it did shells and coral. I was stunned by the amount of plastic out there; from bottles to pieces of crates, from wheels to what can only be described as 'chunks' of plastic. There was some trash that I would describe as "locally grown", styrofoam plates and cups, drink boxes and beer cans, but this was much more the exception than the rule. The one thing that I was really disturbed by was the plastic six-pack rings. Really?!?! Maybe that was in the trash from the sunk plastic boat too...but for pete's sake!!! People! Cut the six-pack rings up so that fish and wildlife don't get stuck in them! It even gives you an excuse to whip out your knives while drinking-which always can make for a good story that the whole family will remember for years to come!

We filled up five trash bags in about fifteen minutes. The kids spent a lot of time examining stuff, we could've done it in about five minutes. We barely made a dent in it. I hope we can get back out there soon, even though that was the culmination of our children's class lesson on service. I feel like we barley scratched the surface. These children didn't seem to know that plastic NEVER will degrade. They didn't know about the danger of six-pack rings, or that many of the bottles we found are recyclable. Maybe a lot of other people don't either.

There's much that can be said about the need for reducing our waste, re-using what we can, and recycling what we are able to. Plastic NEVER goes away!! It isn't out of sight, out of mind anymore either. Just read this article to discover where your plastic has been going...


ryran said...

Very cool! I mean... uhh.. that you guys went out and did that with the kids. Notsocool about all the plastic. That article was crazy--I'd never heard anything about that. (I mean the giant floating rubbish heap. I knew all about the evils of plastic.)

Momtecki said...

As I recycle, I hope I am making a difference.

Brad said...

Tank Beach is one of the worst on the island for all the trash washing up on the beach. I had almost the identical reaction the first time I went there. There are sometimes other cleanups Angelo & Beautify CNMI, the dive club I'm in does a beach from time to time and others)take place but the ocean just keeps bringing more in.
If you're new on the island, you'll want someone to show you Crocodile Beach. It's one of the coolest beaches but it looks like Tank beach as far as all the rubbish that's washed up.

It's great to hear you led a small army out there and got a lot cleaned up. Thank you, from a fellow resident of Saipan.