Basura del Mar
A kayak has been built out of foam blocks that were washed up on a beach here in south Puget Sound. The shores of the Sound are thick with the tiny foamed plastic bubbles and shreds, all of it contributing to a major debris and pollution problem. It's not just here; it's like this everywhere.
The "Basura del Mar" participated in the first Seventy48 race this June, and while it didn't make it to the finish line in Port Townsend in the allotted 48 hours (it got to Kingston), it provided a great opportunity to raise the issue of marine debris with a diverse audience, as well as to lead us all to question our relationship with plastic, especially single-use.
This Summer, in Southeast Alaska...
A short intro to Cape Decision, where the Ikkatsu Project is organizing a multi-beach cleanup for July, 2018.
2018... Always Looking Forward
2018 is already well underway and is without a doubt the busiest year ever for the Ikkatsu Project. The freshwater microplastics monitoring program is completing its third year in the Sumner School District, and the steady accumulation of sampling records is starting to give us a good picture of the level of plastic in the Puyallup River watershed.
Coastal monitoring of selected beaches has been ongoing since 2012 and will continue, with an increased focus on the two major beach cleanup weekends, one in April and the other in September. Survey activity will be centered around these events, along with counts of the significant amount of debris that is collected.
Alaska is back on the calendar as well. After an amazing paddle to the Cape Decision lighthouse in July of 2017, a return is being planned for this summer that will include multiple beach cleanups and a larger microplastic sampling program, along with the start of a multi-year debris deposition study. By fully cleaning selected beaches and then returning to survey them on a regular basis, the sample deposition rates that we track for that specific part of southeast Alaska will help us understand the accumulation of plastic debris on remote wilderness beaches. This is exciting stuff... there will be more on this throughout the year.
The second Tacoma Shoreline Survey is on the calendar for September and will focus on plastic pollution as well as shoreline armoring and beach erosion. (If you're considering helping with a donation of time or money, this program could use both. Get in touch when you have the chance.)
There’s more to tell, and details on the things that have already happened can be found in the archives: the trip to Washington DC in February to lobby elected representatives on ocean-related issues, for example, was a great success and has significantly raised the visible opposition to offshore drilling. Now, for attempts to navigate the local (south Sound) fossil fuel related legislation, coordinated programs with Surfrider and the Japan Environmental Action Network, and so on.
And, on May 6th, we hosted our first Spring Social, something that we hope will be the start of a new tradition. With musical guest, Satori Bob, and about a hundred folks dropping by the Camp Bar to say hello, sign their names on the "Basura del Mar," and compete for an amazing array of raffle items. Please check in with the journal for a recap and more information. And thank you to all who have supported the Ikkatsu Project with your time, money and good will throughout the years.
There is still plenty to be done.