Earth Day 2013


Earth Day 2013 dawned gray and threatening rain. A significant increase in the wind was expected when the rain arrived.  That may explain why I was the only one of several expected volunteers who showed up before 9AM that morning to pick up trash on Indian River County Spoil Island 6 (IR6).  IR6 is less that a half mile off shore from Sebastian's Riverview Park.  I was paddling my Pygmy Boat Company's Pinguino 145/4PD.  Pinguino has a barn door rear hatch that I though could hold a lot of "stuff" I might find on the island.  A short paddle under the heavily overcast skies brought me to the southwest end of IR6.  

DSCN3398I expected to find discarded water bottles, beer cans and miscellaneous stuff left behind by the picnickers, campers and fishermen that frequent this public island.  I did find all of that, but I found much more that disgusted and angered me.  Once I moved ten yards off the beach, into the first row  of trees I encountered clumps of toilet paper everywhere.  The toilet paper was on top of the ground (not buried) and was not accompanied by feces.  This led me to believe that this debris was left behind by women after they had urinated.  My supposition was strengthened when I found discarded sanitary napkins, tampons and tampon applicators in the same area.  And this unsightly and unhealthy debris was everywhere I looked.   Find an uprooted tree or thicket of brush and behind it was clumps of toilet paper and sanitary items.  And these areas were just off the beach and picnic areas where families come to swim and relax and explore.  I can just see little Johnny running up to mom waving the used sanitary napkin he has just found and asking what it is.  


The more I picked up, the angrier I got (that comes through in the video).  Thankfully I had brought gloves along with me or the job would have been even more nasty.  After covering only a hundred yards or so of beach and its interior, I had collected two grocery bags full of the nasty stuff.  It seems to me that if a person can think far enough ahead to bring toil;et paper and sanitary supplies to the island, then she can also remember to bring a gallon zip lock bag in which to pack the stuff out for proper disposal.  

My other big complaint is over the pigs who come to the island to party, raise hell and get drunk, leaving their beer bottles and cans all over the place.  I am thankful when these Neanderthals don't smash their bottles.  This creates a hazardous beach situation and is difficult to clean up at best.  But like my tirade to the women above, these guys (yes, it's mostly men) have no trouble bringing these cases of beer to the island in their big powerboats.  Therefore it's safe to assume that they have the room to haul the empties away when they leave.  


My haul for the day

No one wants to lay on the beach among empty beer cans, or eat their picnic lunch in sight of discarded toilet paper and sanitary products.  It's really nasty.  Please folks, plan on bringing what you need to carry out the things you have carried into the island.

Carry In - Carry Out!

Here is another Earth Day Paddler's report.  If you like it you might want to subscribe to Jeremy's postings.

Earth Day Paddle On The Musconetcong River by Jeremy Travers

 © Don Yackel 2020