On Sunday, August 4, CJ’s on the Bay was closed for their annual beach clean-up. A large turnout of over 60 CJ’s employees and their families showed up at 9 AM at Tigertail Beach, Residents Beach and South Beach with a final gathering at South Beach for an aerial group photo!
Nobody knows better than local business CJ’s on the Bay that a polluted beach is not good for Marco Island’s economy. A beach in poor condition limits recreation and dampens its lucrative appeal for both residents and visitors.
With almost two million footprints by year’s end, Marco faces the everyday pollution and degradation of its pristine beaches. A dirty beach harms animals that come on our beach to nest such as sea turtles. As of August 5th, Marco had 90 sea turtle nests with 184 false crawls – meaning, mama sea turtle came ashore but something obstructed her way, or she got spooked and left without depositing her eggs. A leftover kiddy pool, beach chairs, or a children’s trampoline can present obstacles to sea turtle hatchlings as they maneuver their way to the sea for the first time.
Don’t use the beach as an ashtray – it did look like that during the clean-up as large amounts of cigarette butts were found along the wrack line and dunes. Seriously, these little items are very toxic to wildlife when ingested.
Thanks to community volunteers like CJ’s, they have prevented trash from ending up in the Gulf and those plastic water bottles are not going to end up as tiny bits of microplastic to be ingested by local marine life.
For Marco’s Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee (BACR), the clean-up is also an opportunity to gather data about the state of Marco’s beach and the types of trash found during a two-hour monthly beach clean-up. Here in Marco Island, BACR collected data on the amount of single use plastic straws picked up on the beach for a two-year period which resulted in banning the use of single use plastic straws on Marco’s beaches. A plastic straw is deadly for birds as they often mistake it for food, and it clogs their intestines, so they die from starvation.
Please make a difference. Seeing plastic pollution online or on television is different from witnessing it on your own beach. BACR organizes the monthly beach clean-ups and solicit monthly sponsorships from the community. The beach is so much safer and cleaner thanks to all the beach clean-up sponsors such as JW Marriott, VACASA Vacation Homes, Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron, Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, Marco Island Area Association of Realtors and CJ’s on the Bay.
Beach clean-up sponsorship is needed for beach clean-ups scheduled for September 3rd (6pm at South Beach) and November 9th (South Beach). Please call Coastal Breeze News at (239-393-4991) if interested.