Met Otterman and a bunch of helpful people yesterday afternoon for a quick cleanup of Labrador beach. Even bumped into some unexpected help in the form of a member of the public (a JC biology teacher), originally there to recce the place and take photographs, who kindly offered to chip in. Our main objective was to clear the beach of the glass fragments which littered the shore, but it was pretty amazing what kind of stuff (and the amount) we ended up hauling out. Otterman was a 1-man big-ass hauling machine. He claims that he was just about to enter into long haul mode when suddenly there was nothing left to haul though, and in retrospection I think it was somewhat easier than I was first fearing. In terms of pieces retrieved, glass takes the cake. Which is unusual because normally in clean-ups the main type of trash is plastic. NParks kindly offered logistical support with gloves (albeit the wrong kind) and canvas bags that was able to withstand glass, and even had some staff members meet me at the gate before the cleanup to pass me the equipment.
We cleared an estimated (didn’t actually count) 200kg of trash from the beach in 1.5h, of which Otterman estimates about 75% (in terms of total pieces) was glass – with 20% plastic and 5% metal. Had to leave behind some really heavy tires which we’ll feedback to the park staff about and have them get their clean-up team to retrieve. Most of the glass was concentrated at the part of the beach where the sand starts, and there was a lot of it especially at the bit after the fence demarcating the end of the beach. Many of the fragments had worn down sides and seemed to have been around for quite awhile.
Some thoughts about the cleanup. When people offer to provide gloves, must ask for the thick construction gloves, otherwise will have to arrange to bring our own. Arrange for some big burly guys to come later to exclusively provide muscle for hauling out the trash. Everything turned out rather well, all things considering. We weren’t even sure if the 0.4m tide was going to be low enough, and it was relatively simple (too simple?) to send out a few emails to coordinate everything. Otterman thinks we didn’t do enough publicity, which I disagreed since I didn’t really plan for having clueless members of the public along, who need to be briefed and reminded and babysat. Perhaps next time we will advertise on Habitatnews as well.
As we were about to leave at sunset, Chee mentioned that there were 2 octopuses hanging out under the jetty. And sure enough, they were there just lounging around in the open. Amazing. Don’t think I’ve ever seen 1 much less 2 octopuses at Labrador. They must be getting ready to hunt for some poor unsuspecting crabs coming out to feed at dusk. We also saw the Little Heron coming out to hunt as we were leaving while the sun set. There were also loads of fireworms. We spotted one that had just stunned itself a snapping shrimp and was about to polish it off when it was disturbed by us lifting the piece of fibreglass that was lying on top of it. Poor thing. I hope it managed to get back to its dinner after we left.
To follow-up: Will email volunteers to thank them again for coming. And email the NParks staff to let them know about the outcome and let them know about the bulky items which they can help transport out.