The most beautiful, white sandy beaches set Anna Maria Island apart from other island getaways. Let’s all keep it that way and work on our common goal of no trash on the beach!
Garbage in the oceans
With more than 320 million metric tons of plastic produced every year a disturbing amount of it ends up in our oceans. The biggest accumulation is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It appears more like open water in the areal view but it is like a massive swirling vortex with debris inside from all over the world. The patch has grown to twice the size of Texas. 92% are estimated to come from larger pieces but 1.7 trillion pieces are micro plastic. Many of it is eaten by marine animals, filling up their stomachs to the point of being fatal or becoming part of the food supply chain. Toxins are released into the water and pose a danger to all of us.
Trash on the beaches
The nightmare of turning a beautiful place into a nasty environmental disaster is Kamilo Beach on Hawaii. It is also known as “Junk Beach”. A formerly lovely white sand beach is now a trap for countless tons of trash.
In organized Florida beach clean ups cigarette butts are the most common type of garbage found. Considering that it takes more than 10 years for a cigarette to decompose leaving butts behind is just not right. The beach is not a big ashtray. Also, smoking exposes others to second hand smoke and deprives them to enjoy the fresh salty air.
Other top ten objects collected are solely plastic items. The list contains bags, cups, lids, food containers, food wrappers, toys and plastic straws. Again, coastal animals can mistake small plastic items for food. And who wants to sit on the beach surrounded by unsightly plastic items.
The SandBar Restaurant on the North end of the island and its sister restaurants BeachHouse and Marvista switched to more eco-friendly paper straws last year to make a little difference.
On Anna Maria Island, every beach access has garbage containers to dispose of trash appropriately. There is really is no reason to bring items to the beach and leave them behind.
There are several ways to contribute to keep our beaches clean. The mission of the nonprofit organization “Keep Manatee Beautiful” is to bring together volunteers, businesses and local governments to provide grassroots solutions to littering, illegal dumping, solid waste disposal, recycling and beautification. They organize regular clean ups. The next event is scheduled Oct 6th, 2018. It is the International Coastal Clean Up sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy.
The Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Bird Monitoring group helps to keep the beach habitat clean for wildlife and people alike. The volunteers walk the beach every morning during turtle season and collect trash once the nest activity has been recorded. Especially plastic bags pose a danger to the turtles as they mistake them for their favorite food source – jellyfish.
The Sarasota Bay Watch conducts an annual Sister Keys Clean Up. During this year’s effort 80 volunteers worked for four hours on the island and around the mangrove fringes to collect 1,300 pounds of trash and 80 recyclable items.
If you like to learn more about Anna Maria Island’s community efforts contact one of our Team Duncan members. We are former and current Turtle Watch members, life long island residents and beach lovers.
Please contact us at 941 779 0304 or send us a a quick message here.