Tuesday morning the 9th of October was International Coastal Cleanup day for Maho Bay Camps. Each year around this time we volunteer to walk the beaches of Big Maho, Little Maho and Francis Bay, picking up every bit of trash we can find. A more beautiful morning could not have been found as we started scouring the beaches at 9am. Not a single soul on Big Maho the entire time! Ah the off-season.
This year we had 6 of us volunteer for the 3 beaches, collecting a total of 2 large 45 gallon garbage bags worth of trash from all three beaches.....not that bad if the goal is to not find much trash! Last year it seemed like we collected quite a bit more trash, especially from Big Maho, and especially from the road and parking areas just off the beach. This year we were pleasantly surprised by how little trash was left near the parking spots at Big Maho, with the exception of the handful of styrofoam food containers where it looked like people stopped to enjoy dinner and thew the container out the window of where they were parked.
What did we find? Exactly what you would expect: lots of cigarette butts (about 150 total), many many plastic sandwich bags and tinfoil (bringing lunch to the beach), cans, bottles, bottle caps, 1 pair of underwear, and lots of eating utensils. Data cards provided by the Ocean Conservancy were filled out, and ideally our findings will be shared and analyzed. With any luck our findings will result in future education, legislation, or perhaps signage at each beach - here's to thinking big!
Another interesting note were the glass bottles we found, in that only a handful were found on the beaches. The National Park does a great job of advertising and enforcing the no glass bottle rule on beaches, but unfortunately we found about 30 bottles (mostly Heineken) along the driveway to Francis beach. So technically most of the "weight" from our cleanup came from walking the road to Francis, alongside the salt pond.
Pictured below is the group of us (minus me taking the picture) after finishing the morning at Francis.