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Clean-Up of Oregon Coast Yields Plenty of Oddities, Concerns
(Oregon Coast) - The SOLV Great Oregon Fall Beach Cleanup annual event held Saturday lifted over 40,000 pounds of garbage and weird beach stuff, scouring 360 miles of coastline clean of summer trash stuck in the sand. It utilized over 3,700 volunteers to do so. Some of those have been participating in this event religiously for the last ten years, and some drove more than 200 miles to participate at their favorite beach.
Literally even the kitchen sink was found among the wacky stuff and tons of plastic objects: a double kitchen sink was among the debris picked up.
Less big stuff seemed to show up this year, but plastic in many forms was the big and rather depressing debris on the steady rise, said Newport-area beach captain Charlie Plybon.
The more amusing stuff included a car bumper in the Netarts area, a computer printer, carpeting, rusty nails, mismatched shoes, underwear, large pieces of Styrofoam, hard hats, and half a toilet seat. One hard hat and the half toilet seat were found in the Cannon Beach/Seaside area, along with a mysterious bamboo raft that was likely from across the ocean.
Rusty metal and fishing totes were also among the finds on the north coast. An alarming number of discarded construction material, including metals and wood, were found in that region as well. Scrap wood from what appeared to be a destroyed dock was found in the Oceanside area.
Staff from Nehalem Bay State Park and volunteers found a lot of metal stuff on those beaches, said SOLV spokesperson Pamela Seary. In a collaborative first, that stuff was recycled by CART’M, the local junk yard/used retail store in Manzanita.
Dolores Stover, zone captain of the Rockaway Beach area, said the numbers of participants were down in her area, and not much really odd popped up. “A few dead birds – but that’s just part of the beach on a regular basis,” Stover said.
They did find some discarded construction wood on those beaches. Mostly, however, it was what she called a “record number of plastic bottles and cigarette butts.”
About 150 individuals showed up in Stover’s area - lower than in the spring cleanup. Stover cited gas prices as the likely cause. “Some construction material,” she said. “But not even one tire.”
In Lincoln City, a dead beaver showed up at the Road’s End district. Three busloads of students from Salem came to the D River Wayside to help out, and 500 pounds of trash was collected from the extreme southern end of Lincoln City alone.
Part of a car frame was found in Gleneden Beach. At Fogarty Beach, a few dead murres were discovered there. Seary said this is not unusual, as the life cycle of that bird results in many of them dying about this time of year.
In the Newport area, an old bike was found. Jack and Jan McGowan, SOLV’s former Executive and Associate Directors who retired earlier this year, joined in the cleanup once again. They participated in the Newport area. An old bike was among the wacky finds there.
Plybon said one of those famed glass floats was picked up, planted there by the Newport Chamber earlier this year. It was blown by a local company and did not come from Japan.
"There was a lot of chains and metallic debris," Plybon said of the finds in the Newport area.
Another dead beaver was found in the Lost Creek area- just south of Newport. Part of a toilet was found at Agate Beach, and there was some personal debris from a homeless camp in the bushes above Beverly Beach in Newport.
Up at the very northern end of the coast, there wasn’t much information about oddities because state park officials of Fort Stevens State Park were focused on other restoration projects. 200 employees of PGE came out to help officials replant trees that were blown down during the December 2007 storm in the region north of Gearhart and to help remove three acres of the invasive species scotchbroom. This was a massive effort, said Seary.
Plybon said numerous members of the Surfrider organization helped out at the beach cleanup.
Depending on whom you talked to, cigarette butts were either on the incline or the decrease. But always the plastic bottle is the new evil that is growing and growing on the beaches.
"There weren’t as many cigarette butts as bottles this year,” Plybon said of his Newport area. “The plastic is definitely getting worse. They’re showing up in the form of bags and bits of plastic. The more we consume the more we’re going to find these on our beaches. Until we find another way than plastic it’s going to get worse. The plastic shows up in smaller and smaller bits. Like plastic bags. It doesn’t take long for those to break to smaller pieces.”
Plybon said there were also plenty of pieces of plastic bedliners from trucks and bits from cars on the sands.
“It’s a growing a concern for a lot of us,” Plybon said. “This stuff breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, and it gets all over the beaches.”
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