5.18.11 – Harbor and Beach Cleanup

The phrase of the day at the Harbor and Beach Cleanup on May 7 had to be “there’s more of these darn disks!”  The plastic disks seemed to be in endless supply, scattered all around the harbor.  They have spread all over the sound.  In response to an earlier column, I have received reports of sightings all over the harbor, from soundside beaches, Oyster Bay Cove, Mill Neck Creek, and Cold Spring Harbor.  We received word from Louise Harrison, a former director of Friends of the Bay, that they had been spotted as far east as Goldsmiths Inlet and Mattituck.  Unfortunately, they will probably be sighted for the duration of the summer and into the fall.  As you are walking and enjoying our beaches, please pick them up.  They pose no human health hazard, but could cause problems for birds and fish.

These disks are used in water treatment plants to grow bacteria which help to clean the water. They were mistakenly discharged from a plant under construction in Mamoroneck, and have quickly spread all over Long Island’s north shore.

Volunteers, community members, and the baymen worked hard to clean the harbor of excess trash and debris.  Doing these cleanups is one of my favorite things to do, since it is uplifting to see the outpouring of support for cleaning the beaches and harbors, and seeing how many people really care enough to put some sweat equity into maintaining the harbor.  So much of the trash is completely avoidable (like water bottles, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts) it can be a little discouraging.

Thank you to the Town of Oyster Bay for supplying the support system of dumpsters, payloaders and workers to take care of the garbage collected.  and thank you to the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association for the barbecue afterwards – the fresh steamed clams were delicious!