Break it on down – litter that is.

beach from officeI live on the 14th floor of an oceanfront condo and typically face the window and see the beach and water’s edge beyond and below. It’s a beautiful, ever changing site. I’m fascinated by the weather as seen out toward the horizon line, and up-close watching the palm tree fronds blow in the breeze, people enjoying their leisure walk along the water’s edge. Sometimes I can spot litter from my office window, but most of the litter is very small. The average size of trash in the ocean is about the size of my smallest fingernail. Perfect size for small fish to ingest as food. I have found this to be true on the beach too.

Helping to break down the plastic:


The elements,

Traffic, and


beachrakerOn our beach the traffic includes a year-round beach raker, which will rake under all that is part of the magnificent wrack (all that is washed up naturally by the ocean in an effort to build and support the growth of sand dunes). Unfortunately, typically, 3/4 of the the trash I pick up is in this area of the beach. I try to get out there before the raker comes along to plow it all under. Other machines/vehicles that break up the plastic by running over it are those small vehicles that patrol during turtle season (March through October).

While the plastic is in the ocean, and other man-generated debris, boat traffic may be responsible for breaking apart some of the flotsam.

Sometimes people step on or break up material by just stepping on it, or do it on purpose before dropping the item.

The natural elements also take a toll on the trash: heat, being tossed around in the ocean by stormy weather, churning in the ocean, or in the storm drains. The materials themselves naturally break down. With plastic, that’s a different story, that material will be here for years and years to come, yes, the pieces get smaller and smaller, but it does not dissolve naturally like natural, organic materials.

Time makes the plastic and other items more brittle, further breaking down the size of the pieces that float about Some estimates state it will take 450 YEARS for plastic to “break down”.

Would you consider taking some of the litter you see and either up-cycle, recycle or deposit into a trash can? Contemplate that for a moment.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field