Celebrating our 41st Wedding Anniversary on South Padre Island, we renewed our allegiance to reducing carbon footprints. My husband delighted in leaving the parked car and choosing the free public bus service. Low emissions thankfully, but admittedly it would have been a better choice to have run on biofuel or biodiesel. Omnipresent fast food places could provide used vegetable oils and liquid animal fats as fuel.
While I bussed to the Charity Store to fulfill my mantra, “Reuse, Reduce and Recycle”, three hurricanes danced menacingly in the Gulf of Mexico. They churned debris, spitefully tossing it on the beautiful sandy beach. Perhaps they were reminding us wasteful litter-tossing humans that we should be more respectful of the oceans.
Happy in my recycled purchases which supported the mainland’s animal shelter, I chose to walk along the beach. It was then I saw what humans had carelessly tossed; a sickening pile of Covid-19 masks and plastic gloves.
Dismaying to see an endless trail of rubbish strewn on the beach. Juggling my purchases, I picked up rubbish, discarding it in the conveniently placed litter bins. Filling a cloth bag with beer and pop cans, newspapers and cardboard from newly purchased kiddie toys and what not, I made a mental note to take them to the mobile recycling truck at the weekend. Definitely speak to crew about the nonexistent recycling residential pick-up service. It was 2021 after all, and the Island was behind the times in its lack of easy curbside recycling. Fanatics like myself chose to recycle everything from clean plastic yoghurt to water bottles. An obvious choice as opposed to adding to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific. Sad, so sad that this vortex of non-biodegradable plastic debris destroyed beautiful nature. Microplastics become an ugly soup mixed with fishnets and shoes. Sea turtles dined on plastic bags which mirrored yummy jellyfish. Albatrosses mistaking plastic palettes for fish eggs unknowingly ruptured their offsprings’ organs.
Hoping that my choice to collect netting would reduce the horror of marine life drowning in discarded fishnets, I continued to comb the beach.