Friday, July 24, 2015

spoil island clean up/ picking up plastic

here are a few photos of a recent cleanup with my friend julie hurley.  we were at the south end of wrightsville beach , nc across from the coast guard station.  this particular spoil island is where we have found over 300 bio-discs so far.  tomorrow morning we will paddle over again with a group to help clean up even more and to look for bio-discs.

julie found a hand full of plastic and styrofoam within just a few minutes

these plastics eventually make there way to the ocean, affecting many species of marine life. 
plastics are a huge problem in the ocean and the 5 gyres.  sea turtles and others mistake plastic bags for food, ending up with a stomach full of plastics and starving to death.  this is just not okay.  we have to cut down/ stop using single use plastics.  

plastic water bottles (single use plastic) are one of the worst hazards, as they float to the bottom of the ocean and land on the sea bed where sea turtles, manatees and other marine animals feed.  this type of debris kills then sea grass, essentially impacting the organisms that marine life depends upon for food.  

all of this was floating around the high tide line ...caught in the marsh and reeds.  

these are bio-discs, used in water treatment plants and in aquaculture, we are beginning to find more and more of these among the shores of banks channel.  working to find the source so that a trap of some sort can be put in place to keep them from losing these.  bio discs are made to never break down.  there are 110 in this photo.

signs used to protect wildlife are often made from plastic... eventually blowing away and breaking down into micro-plastics.  all 5 gyres in the ocean contain micro-plastics.  marine life cannot differentiate between natural habitat and plastics floating in the ocean, so there is a lot of marine life living in this nasty, toxic plastic.  we can do better.  

wherever you go, please pick up any plastic that you find.  it is estimated that 80% of plastic found in the ocean is from runoff.  we can do a lot to prevent this from happening, by picking it up and by saying NO to single use plastic! 

if you do just one thing, it will make a difference!
*say no to straws
*take your own re-usable bags to stores (say NO to plastic bags)
*stop buying single use water bottles (use your own glass bottle or re-usable water container)

plastic water bottles leach harmful chemicals into the drinking water.  

please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sunday, July 19, 2015



really. plastic doesn't belong anywhere.  there are more and more reasons to refuse plastic than ever before.  plastic water bottles release toxic chemicals into the water you are drinking.  please consider purchasing a glass water bottle and refilling it to use over and over, instead of buying single use plastic bottles.  traveling with your own personal bottle is easy..... most airports have fountains to use and once you go through security, you can refill your bottle.  this is just ONE way to cut down on your plastic use and reduce your plastic footprint.  

i recently visited NYC while my daughter was attending the NY film academy for a summer program.  with the days to myself to wander around the city, i was so surprised (and bummed) to see how much plastic is littered in the streets of manhattan.  
my friend julie has started a campaign, "PLASTIC, PICK IT UP"  and i couldn't stop thinking that everyone in new york needs to do just that!  it's a huge problem and people walk right by littered plastic all day long.  
*more info. coming soon about "PLASTIC, PICK IT UP"

turtles mistake plastic bags for jelly fish.... :(
they cannot digest plastic and often die from suffocation and starvation.

quite often, the litter is just steps away from a trash can or recycling can.  it's just a matter of taking the time!  
STRAWS are one of the number one things found floating in the oceans and on beaches.... this is SO dangerous for marine life, (sea turtles, fish, dolphins, and sea birds) mistake this and other plastics for food and they end up dying from starvation with bellies filled with plastics... WE CAN DO BETTER!
  please consider letting your server at restaurants know that you do not need a straw!  at home, you can use re-usable glass straws or bamboo straws to cut down on plastic use.  and you can always take a stainless steel or glass straw with you to restaurants! 


"Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That's 46,400 school buses every year! Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day."
JOIN THE "BE STRAW FREE" movement~~~

did you know that 80% of plastic found in the oceans is coming from runoff?  YES!!  that means that everything that washes into storm drains will eventually make it's way to the ocean.  :(  WE CAN STOP THAT!!!  if you see plastic, pick it up!  we don't want anymore plastic to make it's way to our oceans.

 this is under the brooklyn bridge..... where will that plastic , styrofoam and rubber end up??  YEP, in the ocean~  the plastics found in the ocean are creating a huge problem.... it not only causes pollution from the toxins in the plastics, but it is confusing to fish and marine life, who mistake it for food and also for protection from predators.  they often get caught in plastic bags and end up dying from suffocation.  this just isn't okay!  we can do better.

storm drain in NYC on broadway

cigarette butts are litter.  i was astonished to see so many people who smoke, just flick their cigarette butt on the ground when they finished smoking it.  WHAT????  is NYC okay with their beautiful city being used as an ashtray??  i don't think so.  unfortunately, this is another huge problem on our beaches and in our oceans.  the filters in cigarettes never break down.  they are also filled with very toxic chemicals which are released into the water they are littered into.. it's not a good combination.  please do not litter cigarette butts and pick them up when you see them.  the storm drains in NYC, sidewalks, streets and sidewalk grates are filled with cigarette butts.  

i am working in collaboration with plastic ocean project to promote awareness and education when it comes to the huge problems associated with plastic.  please visit , to learn more about the many ways plastics are wreaking havoc in our oceans and what you can do to help!!  
to book a presentation, email


please watch this video to learn more :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

post fourth of july beach cleanup

this was the day after fourth of july.  lenny and i went to topsail to cleanup after the fireworks and we found more trash than usual.  (usually the south end of topsail is pretty free of litter).   there were lots of cigarette butts, lots of plastic bottles and of course, little from the fireworks.  turtles, birds, and fish can't differentiate between the litter and food.  plastic bags, straws, and other plastics float around in the ocean looking like fish to these marine animals.  they end up eating it and later starving to death from lack of nutrients.  please always pick up any plastic you see!