Beachcombing at Lyall Bay - evidence of a quiet tragedy

Southerly swells often wash a lot of seaweed up on to the beach at Lyall Bay - but alas, there is more.

A mound of stuff, gathered as I wandered a few days ago on Lyall Bay beach (in the dog exercise zone) while my dog did his sniffing and exploring. 

I have the habit of picking up rubbish while we are there because, although it seems I accomplish very little, still it might save a seabird or some fish from being starved by filling their stomachs with unbudging plastic, or being throttled by the fiendish little pieces floating in the water.  I realised this after seeing the heartbreaking introduction to Chris Jordan's film-in-making, Midway, and since then I have been more alert to the danger - as plastic weathers it may break into very small pieces, but it never goes - it is always a threat.  Above is what I collected in an hour of gentle wandering.  The beach looked clean - it was only on looking closely that the rubbish was evident.

A small selection of the 431 pieces of stuff, from tiny to large, that I collected.  They are spread out to be seen more clearly - despite damage and weathering many are still recognisable everyday objects.  

People sometimes notice what I am doing and comment about me being "good" - but it is no big deal, my dog is exploring and enjoying the beach and I am too.  Most of this rubbish has probably not been left deliberately, but blown from rubbish bins, been washed out to sea in storm water, and so on.  We aren't being "bad," we just have too many risky products that end up damaging the life that is around us.

There is a big clean up/rubbish collection scheduled for Wellington's south coast this weekend, and all around the world - on International Coastal Clean-up Day, the third saturday in September. 

We also need to clean up the way we use and deal with materials like plastic that persist and cause the quiet tragedy unfolding in our oceans.