I made my way from Swansboro, NC to the Cedar Island Ferry on the morning of Friday, January 16th on a mission to participate in the NCCF's Pickin Pots Program.
The Pickin Pots program, organized by Ladd Baylis with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, has been presented for the past two years at the NC Marine Debris Symposium and has gained a lot of interest in the MD community. The program, originally started by support from the local fishing community, has made huge strides in the removal of derelict fishing gear in the Outer Banks. I was hoping to get a better insight of how the program works and possibly see if we could get some interest in expanding the program here in the Southern parts of Eastern NC.
On the way, I was able to stop and enjoy the Ocracoke, Hatteras, and Bodie Island Lighthouses, take part in a beach cleanup at the inlet beach area as I waiting on the Ocracoke to Hatteras Ferry, a beach cleanup in Buxton near the Hatteras Lighthouse, and a cleanup near Jennette's Pier (where the 2015 Symposium will be held) in Nags Head. During these cleanups, I found mostly plastic debris including bottles and food wrappers, and cigarette butts (of course). This data was recorded using the MD Tracker App (be sure to download and use this during your cleanups). I was also able to find recycle bins to empty my bucket along the way.
It was cold the morning of the Pickin Pots land-based cleanup, but NCCF volunteers arrived with hot coffee and gear for the day. We all slapped on gloves and rubber boats and took off to two locations to cover. One was the area near Elizabeth Gardens in Manteo that covered about a half a mile or so of shoreline. The other was near a highly wooded and marshy area near the Coastal Science Institute in Wanchese. These were both areas for concern and the focus was mainly on the removal of DFG, although we did (of course) pickup whatever non-organic materials we found including a large amount of scattered treated lumber in the Wanchese location.
I would have to guess that we picked up at least 100 or more foam buoys, approx. 200 plastic bottles, some food wrappers like chip bags, a plastic garbage can, and some plastics that had begun to photodegrade to the point of breaking up into microplastic pieces when they were attempted to be collected. As I walked back to my car, I found that the roadside was just as littered and so I took out my bucket and collected another 50 or so polystyrene cups (all appearing to be the same kind -- makes me think it is probably coming from the same person on their way home from work!!!), a polystyrene food tray, several plastic bottles, and a few cigarette butts.