I went up to the Seawall this morning to watch the sunrise on the first day of my 62nd year. I live a few blocks from the beach and I try to watch the day break when I am on the island; my way of self-care.

What initially caught my eye was someone sleeping on the sidewalk, just inches away from the road.

They must have had way too much of some mind-numbing substance to make it the 15 more feet down to sleep on the sand. I didn’t get close enough to disturb them or to even identify the gender of the sleeper. I quickly headed down the steps to the recently re-nourished beach. Before the beach was widened, there was no sand here. It had eroded.

I am grateful to have this new wide beach to enjoy.

I not only go to the beach each morning to watch the sunrise, I go to pick up trash. Peacefully,  walking East to welcome the dawn; on my way back, I pick up the discarded debris. I arrive before the Park Board clean-up crew begins their morning rounds. There’s always plenty of trash. It is an easy way to do a Daily Good Deed; that call-to-service was planted deeply during the founding moments of my life.

For the last three weeks, I’ve noticed trash that has distinct bite marks in it. I’d been shown examples of what turtle bite marks look like when I was studying Marine Resource Management at Texas A&M Galveston. Plastic kills turtles.  I began to photograph the plastic before I pitched it into the trash.

The amount of turtle bitten trash grew extremely alarming. I have been walking this same stretch of beach for 5 years now.  I contacted a professor that I had at TAMUG.

He is retired but still works on Coastal Issues. He encouraged me to start collecting all the plastic pieces and having them professionally photographed to document what I was seeing. Verifiable evidence is vital to fighting for any cause.

On this morning’s walk I saw the same kind of container multiple times. It is mustard colored and looks like maybe mustard is what it is used for. Who dumps their trash in the ocean? I posted a photo of it on Face Book and one of my childhood friends suggested that it may be from a Party Boat. She had once been on a fishing trip and saw the galley worker throw an entire garbage bag overboard. Sea- Traitor.

There are no polite, printable words for such blatant disregard and disrespect. I will continue to pick up the trash. I will try and figure out how to reduce  how our oceans are being commercially trashed.  Remember the campaign that got people to stop throwing trash out their car windows? Behavior can change. Promote solution- based change.

Heading back up the steps to leave; the sleeping person was no longer prone on the sidewalk. Squatting on the bottom step, she was visibly still under the influence; urinating on the sand. She was still trashed.