Last year on a Saturday morning in September, before the sun rose I left to go fishing at Picnic Beach in Old Tampa Bay. It was so early I decided to stop on the Courtney Campbell Causeway’s shared path bridge to enjoy a quiet sunrise over Old Tampa Bay.
After enjoying seeing the rising sun as I walked towards the east, I turned back at the halfway point of the bridge to return to the parking area along the causeway.
Since I still had time to kill before meeting my family at the beach, I continued walking along the causeway taking pictures of all the garbage that was left strewn on the parking spots.
Here are just a few pictures of all the beer, liquor and other garbage people left behind after getting wasted the night before. All this trash could end up in Tampa Bay if not for the people who work here picking up the mess these uncaring beings leave behind.
And of course some of this garbage is already edging closer to the water.
Maybe you don’t want to know this but please continue reading A Little Perspective in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times, 2/7/2016 to see what a few volunteers were able to remove from the waterways and surrounding areas in and around the Hillsborough River watershed. Let’s Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.
And if you click and read the whole section of A Little Perspective you’ll find an interesting statistic about the sex lives of those who support Donald Trump.
A Little Perspective
16,720 pounds of trash not in Tampa Bay
It starts with a bottle cap picked up from the side of the road. It continues with a plastic bag fished out of a drain pipe. And it dramatically improves Tampa Bay, the body of water that gives identity to our region.
Last month, 302 volunteers removed 16,720 pounds of trash from our waterways and surrounding areas in and around the Hillsborough River watershed. The Trash Free Waters Partnership is part of a national effort by the EPA to bring together public, private and nonprofits to keep our waterways clean. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (one of us — Debbie — is executive director) and Nestle Waters North America (the other of us — Kent — is the natural resource manager) were glad to be able to lead this effort. This year, the cleanup took a pre-emptive approach, removing land-based litter at the source — in and around the conduits that feed into the Hillsborough River.
That cigarette butt on the ground may seem small, but consider:
• 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources.
• Every little item makes a difference. 900 yards of fishing line was recovered at the 2015 Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Hillsborough River & Coastal Cleanup, according to a University of Florida study.
• There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans, weighing 269,000 tons, according to a study published in the journal PLOS One.
A healthy Hillsborough River Basin is vital to our quality of life. More than 350,000 Floridians rely on it for their drinking water. All it takes is one big rainstorm to wash all of the garbage on the side of the road into our waterways. But the rain cannot wash away trash that isn’t on the ground.
That small piece of litter on the side of the road may seem inconsequential. But what we as a community decide to do with it is the key to preserving the marine ecosystem that so many of us love and treasure. Pick it up. Put it in the trash or recycling bin.
Kent Koptiuch and Debbie Evenson, special to the Tampa Bay Times