3/16/09

Cleaning the Beach

I watched a woman and her daughter diligently picking up trash on the beach in the Montana De Oro State Park this weekend. They wore gloves and carried plastic bags. Since most people, besides my own husband (who was carrying an abandoned beer can and several random pieces of plastic at the time), don't usually gather trash of their own accord I assumed them to be part of a Girl Scout Troop or something. And I admired the inspiration organizations like these provided for goodwill and positive community participation. Of course, we had John in our family for inspiration, who never returned home from the beach without a piece of beach trash.
As I pondered the saintly qualities of my own husband, I watched as the woman neared closer to a creek bed where she set her sights on something on the water's edge. Then she did something that made me shutter, she placed her gloved hand in her mouth (the dirty glove she used for picking up the trash) and bit down on the end of her glove. IN HER MOUTH! Using her teeth to pull the glove off her hand, she used her bare hand to reach into the water and retrieve a piece of plastic.
Now, I ask, what part of this is sanitary? My own husband carried trash in his bare hand, but I knew him well enough to know that he would not put his hands in his mouth until he reached the bathroom sink across the parking lot.
Blllaggghhhkk!
And then I realized the irony in beach cleaning. It is common knowledge that in various countries around the world, including ours, garbage dumps are located on large ocean barges where, at full capacity, they head out into the sea and dump the colorful disgusting piles of junk right down onto the ocean floor. It's no wonder our beaches are awash with various pieces of garbage.

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