Good morning, sunrise fans and welcome to a new week of color on the central coast. Today we are journeying back in the time tunnel to late November, when turkey, stuffing and jellied cranberry sauce were still coursing through my veins. During this early morning magic the clouds were streaming across the sky from Loma Prieta across the bay to Pacific Grove. I started out this photo experience on the sand at Its Beach (photo #1) before heading over to Steamer Lane. There, I caught the Phoenix sun rising over Monterey Bay and casting its radiant glow over the water like Lady Clairol shining on my daughter’s golden locks. Which, during Passover, is not to be confused with bagels and lox.
I’m really not a happy camper when I hit the beach in the morning and have to pick up trash left behind by some morons from the day before. Fortunately, I’m not the only one. Last week Ocean Conservancy released its annual report on trash in the ocean with new data and results from the 2007 International Coastal Cleanup. This report is the most comprehensive study of the harmful impact of marine debris and the TV show “Baywatch”. The mission of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup is to have people remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris, change the behaviors that cause pollution and maybe build a few sand castles. This year, more than 378,000 volunteers and three unwilling participants joined in cleanups around every major body of water around the globe, not including Billy Ocean, Joan Rivers or Ricki Lake.
“Our ocean is sick,” says Laura Capps, Senior Vice President at Ocean Conservancy. And we are not talking about a case of the sniffles. “The plain truth is that our ocean ecosystem cannot protect us unless it is healthy and resilient. Harmful impacts like trash in the ocean, pollution, climate change and habitat destruction are taking its toll. But the good news is that hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are starting a sea change by joining together to clean up the ocean.” Kind of like Hands Across the Ocean. As Laura says, “Trash doesn’t fall from the sky, it falls from people’s hands.” Personally, when I go to the beach and see people leave their bottles and cans behind, I think about reinstalling the death penalty for littering.
Trash in the ocean kills more than one million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals and six turtles each year through ingestion and entanglement. This year, 81 birds, 63 fish, 49 invertebrates, 30 mammals, 11 reptiles, one amphibian and a lifeguard were found entangled in debris by volunteers. Some of the debris they were entangled or had ingested include plastic bags, fishing nets, fishing line, punch lines, six-pack holders, string from a balloon or kite, string cheese, glass bottles, cans and sippy cups.
Volunteers scoured 33,000 miles of shoreline worldwide and found 6 million pounds of debris, ranging from cigarette butts to food wrappers to hip hop artists. Nearly 7.2 million items were collected by volunteers on a single day last September as they combed and brushed beaches and rocky shorelines in 76 countries. The 378,000 volunteers on the average collected 182 pounds of trash and puka shells for every mile of shoreline, including ocean coastlines and beaches on inland lakes and streams. Since 1986, more than six million volunteers have removed 116,000,000 pounds of debris across 211,460 miles of shoreline in 127 nations. That’s more garbage than the Bush Administration has fed us about our still being in Iraq. In case you’re interested, the 23rd annual Flagship International Coastal Cleanup will be held Sept. 20, 2008. Be there, be aware, or be square.
That’s news, weather and here comes sports. If you’re a basketball fan, I hope you caught that epic double overtime classic on Saturday between the Suns and the Spurs. As super Laker fan Jack Nicholson once told me, that’s as good as it’s going to get. Or maybe it was Diane Keaton. The Suns had it and just couldn’t finish off Timmy Duncan and company. They’re going to wish that had knocked off the reigning champions that day. But, still six games to go in that series. So enjoy the morning sky, the trash talk and we’ll catch you on Wednesday. Aloha.