Every September, Ocean Conservancy sponsors an International Coastal Cleanup in more than 75 countries. Busch Gardens has been participating in this event for several years and we were eager to lend a hand this September … then the rains came. Our original cleanup date was canceled due to weather and the rain date was set for October 16.
My teammates and I got to Busch Gardens around 7 a.m. to begin gathering all of our supplies for the day - gloves, bags, hand sanitizer, trash grabbers and some sun screen for our noses. Although a little windy, the sun was shining and more than made up for the rainy days we had last month.
We spent the morning on the beach picking up trash and talking to our local fishermen about why it was so important to keep our Virginia waterways clean. At the end of the cleanup we weighed in our bags of trash and gathered total numbers for some specific items. We filled in the forms sent to us from the Ocean Conservancy with our numbers and they will get added to the global survey. Each year millions of pounds of trash are removed all over the world.
Just some of the items we found
- 50+ glass bottles
- 50+ plastic bottles
- 100+ bait bags and bait containers
- 50+ plastic grocery bags
- 100+ feet of fishing line
- countless cigarettes
The bags and fishing line were the most concerning. Not only can birds and other animals get tangled in the fishing line, but when the trash bags are in the water they are frequently mistaken by sea turtles as jelly fish. The sea turtles eat the plastic bags which is usually fatal.
I think the oddest items we found were many pairs of socks. I have to say I am little worried about people’s cold feet around Williamsburg.
All in all it was a really fun day, the weather was beautiful and we got the chance to help make our beaches clean and safe for the environment.