On March 25th, I volunteered with the Water Restoration Group at Kennedy Park.
I would not consider Kennedy Park to be a usual coastal clean up site. And the trash collected told a very interesting story. Compared to the beaches, and the marinas, Kennedy is a very family friendly location. Children’s birthday parties occupy the picnic benches, as people walk their dogs. Not surprisingly, the trash collected told the same story.
The park as littered with straws, utensils and tennis balls at rates higher than I’ve seen at other locations. A group of the volunteers pulled a razor scooter from the mangroves. There were also less alcohol bottles/cans.
The straws were of particular interest at this location. I noticed their high density almost immediately. Though we see straws at almost all of our locations, I had not seen this many. I made a comment about the straws to one of the other volunteers, who pointed out the Ace’s Icees truck in the parking lot. There were customers sitting at the bench, enjoying their frozen drinks through plastic red straws. Those straws are ending up on the ground, and ultimately in the ocean. This is the first time I’ve been faced with a direct and obvious source for the trash that was collected. I’m not exactly sure how to move forward.
After participating in 8 cleanups in just over 2 weeks, I’m starting to see patterns. Patterns that have me asking questions. Questions give us someplace to start.