When I was backpacking through Thailand, one of the main things I wanted to do was attend the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. There was something about it that drew me in. Well it’s a party that takes place on a beach in Thailand and goes all night. Who wouldn’t want to experience that!?
The party was a long night of drinking, dancing, and debauchery. Am I happy I did it once….yes. Would I do it again…..no.
My heart broke the next morning when I saw the state of the beach. Trash was everywhere!
It’s not that I didn’t know it would be dirty. I’ve been to Marti Gras and other outdoor festivals. I’ve seen what messy slobs we humans can be, but seeing the sea of rubble covering the sand that next morning really hit me hard.
I could not believe the amount of drink containers, cigarette butts, beer cans, and beer bottles scattered across Haad Rin beach. The waves were crashing in on top of it picking up what loose particles they could grab before returning back out to the open ocean. I don’t even want to think about what it must have looked like underneath the surface.
There was a lot of trash in the water hours after the party was done. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been when the 12000+ drunk attendees were stumbling along the shore.
Trash is a big issue. It still blows my mind when I see people litter without a care. In this day and age!
Imagine taking a trip to the beach only to find it’s completely strewn with trash. It’s a terrible sight. We are so lucky to have all the beautiful beaches in the world to visit. It’s up to us to help keep them clean not only for ourselves but for all the people who will visit in the future.
Join in the Cleanup
I know picking up trash doesn’t sound appealing at all, but please hear me out.
I’ve attended a few beach cleanups in the past, and they can be quite fun. One of the cleanups here in Los Angeles, ended with a nice bonfire and hula dancers. All we had to do was spend an hour walking through the sand a picking up all the loose rubbish. That’s it!
Almost 2 dozen people showed up to pitch in. In that one hour, more than 2 dozen bags were filled with beach litter. Orphaned flip flops, beer cans, cigarette butts, styrofoam pieces, plastic cutlery all taken out of the sand.
After the cleanup, the organizing group lit a bonfire and brought a small band and hula dancers to entertain us. We sat out under the stars listening to a ukelele and watching the dancers tell their stories. It’s a pretty good pay off for volunteering a little of your time.
If you can’t attend a cleanup, you can still help out. When you are visiting a beach, look around and see if there is loose trash. Take a few minutes picking up the particles and disposing of them properly. If we all did that, the beaches would be spotless.
Of course, if people actually had to clean up their own trash, they probably wouldn’t litter in the first place.
Coastal Cleanup Day
Every year on the 3rd Saturday in September the world joins together in Coastal Cleanup Day. Last year almost 100 countries participated and nearly 700,000 volunteers pitched in. Over 12 million pounds of trash were taken out of the oceans and waterways!
One group picked up more than 3000 cigarette butts near a stream that runs through their hometown. Those nasty little guys are a common offender.
Think about it….12,000,000 lbs in just one day. And it wasn’t even the whole day! Most cleanups only lasted a couple of hours and were done by noon. Then you had the whole afternoon to lay in the sun and bask in the great feeling you are getting from doing a good deed.
There were kayakers, paddle boarders, divers, and of course folks walking the beach. Everyone was welcome to join in.
This year Coastal Cleanup Day will take place on Sept 19, 2015, so if you find yourself near a beach, why not show up for a little bit and lend a hand? I promise you will have fun and feel great after!
What is your favorite place near the water? Let us know in the comments below.