Dunes or Garbage Dump? Some People Can’t Tell the Difference

Jennifer Savage / Thursday, April 11, 2013 @ 2:57 p.m. / Activism , Ocean

How thoughtful! In case you’re all tired from walking on the beach, some thoughtful person left this here so you can lie down.

If only the used condom and dirty diaper had been next to the abandoned mattress, the tableau would’ve at least been a tad poetic. As things were, however, the scene was merely the usual gross. Disheartening. Garbage is rarely a cheerful subject, and when it’s been illegally dumped along the dunes and beaches of our our beautiful county, having faith in human nature becomes especially challenging.

Safe sex should include properly disposing of one’s waste matter! Ahem.

However, the enthusiasm greeting Humboldt Surfrider’s campaign to stop local folks from trashing the peninsula gives one hope. Following the announcement on LoCO, T-S reporter Kaci Poor did a fine story and today News Channel 3’s Allie Norton braved the icy north wind to talk about what Surfrider is doing and how folks can get involved. (Oh, you want to get involved? Drop an email to humboldt@surfrider.org or check the Facebook page! Thanks!)

Allie needed some footage of garbage and for a split second, I worried we wouldn’t find “enough.” I needn’t have. Thanks, dumpers, for proving some people don’t care. In addition to the dozens of nails our bare feet nearly landed on –don’t burn pallets, please! – we found, next to the cockeyed “No Dumping” sign, a pile of trash that included an AAA renewal form with a name and address. What to do? Leave it as evidence and report it? Clean it up and report it? Publish it in hopes that embarrassment will deter future litterers? That question has been sent to the county and the answer will be included in a future guide for how to handle finding trash on the beach. 

This is exactly where most people would opt to chuck their empty cups and full diapers.

Mostly, you’ll want to clean it up. I left the condom and diaper behind, however, as I did not have adequate supplies for dealing with bodily waste. Maybe I’ll have to start keeping those stocked in my truck. Or maybe, enough people will work toward a solution and we can all just enjoy the beach instead of cleaning up after others.

But a tiny sample of what’s out there for the pickin’.

In her day job with Ocean Conservancy, Jennifer Savage works on policies designed to better ocean health state-wide and across the globe. In her “off”-hours, she volunteers with Humboldt Surfrider and is a little more snarky.

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