Keep Tybee Tidy! Leave only your footprints!
By Tybee Life
We love Tybee – its unique ambiance, friendly people, quirky characters, historic lighthouse and homes, delicious local food, interesting shops, talented musicians, creative artists, and the beach! Tybee has become very popular, with thousands of people on the beach during the summer, which sometimes results in LITTER. We all know that only humans can produce trash and leave that trash in public places. Our community provides many trash collection receptacles for everyone’s use, regularly scheduled trash pick-up, and city employees to clean up, but we all need to do our part. A day at the beach is relaxing and fun for all, but it’s important for beach-goers to gather up all of their trash and dispose of it properly.
When trash reaches the ocean, it is very harmful to the creatures there, due to entanglement and ingestion. They get entangled in plastic 6-pack rings, discarded fishing line, packing straps, and abandoned nets. These objects constrict the animal’s growth, restrict their movement so they become easy prey, and cause sea reptiles and mammals to drown. Sea turtles love to eat jellyfish, so when they mistakenly eat a plastic bag or a balloon, it causes problems with their digestive systems that often leads to death. Since plastic eventually breaks down into tiny pieces, even small marine organisms are ingesting plastic. We humans enjoy eating fish, shrimp, and other ocean delicacies, but we don’t want a side of plastic included in our meal!
Seabirds are also vulnerable to entanglement or ingestion. They are attracted to fish that have been trapped in marine debris, then they also get entangled, or ingest the harmful material. Plastic items break down into smaller and smaller bits, so even the tiniest sea creatures are ingesting plastic. Studies have found that 100,000 sea mammals and turtles and a million seabirds die globally every year from marine debris.
Cigarette butts are also detrimental to marine life. Most people who smoke are responsible and collect them to throw them away, but ciggy butts are still found all over the beach and the streets. The city of Tybee recently installed blue ciggy butt collectors on many of the light poles and most of the trash receptacles have a separate section for butts. The 7-foot-tall costumed character called “Naz T. Butt” participates in our local parades and events to remind people that “Butts are litter, too!”
We can all help by picking up our own trash, educating others to do the same, picking up litter while walking on the beach, and participating in one of our scheduled beach sweeps. Many civic organizations, local schools, and business groups sponsor beach clean-ups and would welcome your assistance. The Tybee Beautification Association has beach sweeps scheduled on June 9 and September 21, 2015. Individuals and groups often volunteer to clean the beach on the days after holidays, like Memorial Day, July 3rd/4th, and Labor Day. Picking up litter on the beach is a great way to help the environment, meet people, and get some exercise.
Everyone wants their own community to be litter-free, but since some people are not naturally considerate, laws have been enacted to discourage littering. Tybee has laws that are enforced, and we want you to have a pleasant experience here, so please don’t get an expensive ticket! Our laws include NO littering and NO glass bottles on the beach .
Education is an important component in taking care of the earth and its creatures. The following web sites have information and fun activities.
- https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/nero/education/101ActivBk_hi.pdf 24 page printout with puzzles, coloring sheets, info, etc. about marine debris
- http://www.marine.usf.edu/beachbuddies/ Educational site with great background info and lesson plans for parents and teachers
- http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/marinedebris/game.cfm An online video game with the object of finding the trash and dragging it into a recycle bin or a trash can. The trash is pretty well-hidden in the various scenes, so it’s not easy to find everything! After playing the game, you can download a coloring book.
- http://thankyouocean.org/what-you-can-do/ General tips on how you can help the earth, including the oceans.
- http://www.cityoftybee.org/OceanRescue.aspx?CNID=3180 Beach rules and regulations.
- Tybee Beautification FaceBook Page
“First formed in 1986, the Tybee Beautification Association is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of our island. TBA activities include coordination of Beach Sweeps, Adopt-A-Highway clean-ups, Anti-Litter Education, Island-wide Decoration, Education on preservation and nature, Yard of the Month, and planting/maintaining native plants in public areas around Tybee. We are assisted in our efforts by the donations and participation of many local Tybee businesses, for which we are very grateful. Please join – it’s a great way to meet your neighbors, have fun, and help keep our island beautiful! TBA member benefits include social activities such as the member’s picnic and Christmas party.”
“The Tybee Beautification Association meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7pm at the Guard House. Our meetings are open and all are welcome. Annual dues are $10.00 per person. We welcome your thoughts and participation, and hope that you will contact us or attend one of our meetings. Working together, we can make our community a better place for all to enjoy!”
“Clean Coast is a Savannah based, 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization which works to combat marine debris by holding monthly beach and marsh cleanups on the Georgia Coast, one of the last extensive undeveloped shorelines in the United States. Although remote and beautiful, our coastline has not escaped the pervasive problem of marine debris and is well sprinkled with trash which is a nuisance and an eyesore for us humans and oftentimes deadly to wildlife.”
“Clean Coast now offers boat charter service to Georgia’s barrier islands and other water-only accessible locations in the Savannah area. Our 24ft. Carolina Skiff comfortably carries up to six passengers with plenty of room for all your outdoor gear. Perfect for beach-goers, birders, nature enthusiasts, and hunters. Our boat is operated by USCG licensed skippers who have many years of experience on our local waterways. Call 912-961-6190 or 912-604-8741 for rates to Little Tybee, Wassaw, Ossabaw, St. Catherine’s, Blackbeard or your favorite coastal spot.”