SPUR Fall Cleanup

“Fall Go Green and Help Clean” was the mantra this past Sunday, as my dad and I participated in the annual SPUR cleanup. Organized by SPUR volunteer organization, this was a large scale effort to pick up trash and debris from selected beaches and open spaces in Marblehead, Salem, Nahant, and Swampscott, to keep our open spaces clean and beautiful after a summer full of fun. The Marblehead locations include Chandler Hovey Park, Crocker Park, Devereux Beach Playground, and Grace Oliver’s. We spent over an hour wandering Grace Oliver’s, picking up bagfuls of debris and rubbish.

I’m writing about this because it was unexpectedly eye-opening. When I first arrived at the beach, it looked rather clean, and I thought we wouldn’t find much. But within only the first few minutes, as I began to walk amongst the rocks and seaweed, I found ropes, nets, bottles, cans, and other plastic waste. In many instances, we used a knife to cut ropes that were stuck and tangled under rocks. Though a lot of waste comes from everyday beach-dwellers in the summer, a huge portion of it washes ashore, thrown away by boats. The main takeaway for me is that boaters need to be more mindful with what they leave behind in the ocean, myself included. For example, there was a time when I was driving my boat at a high speed, and an empty water bottle flew off a chair and into the water. My first instinct is to leave; it’s only a bottle. Plus, it takes some effort to turn around, slow down, and try to scoop up the bottle. But this effort is extremely important and worth the few minutes. Sure, it may be one bottle, but if every boater lets that one bottle go, that amounts to a considerable amount of pollution. Cleaning up our beaches, oceans, and nice spaces needs to be a group effort if we want to make change. So, I encourage everyone to be more aware of their waste, both on and off the water.

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