Trash in the Mangroves

My wife and I bought two small kayaks with which to explore Sarasota Bay; this afternoon, we cruised around two mangrove islands that sit offshore of our condo.  En route, we encountered the usual mix of bay birds, dominated by ospreys, brown pelicans, least terns, laughing gulls, double-crested cormorants and white ibis; we also observed more upside-down jellyfish and were amazed by the large number of striped mullet that jumped near our kayaks.

Unfortunately, we also encountered a fair amount of trash, collecting in the roots of the red mangrove trees on the bay side of the islands.  Plastic bottles, beer cans and styrofoam cups were most abundant but we also found a water-logged football and a relatively new life vest.  We probably spent a half hour or more filling our kayaks with the human generated flotsam.

No doubt, most fishermen and boaters respect natural ecosystems and make every effort to keep trash out of the bay.  On the other hand, there seems to be a sizable minority that are either careless or oblivious of the pollution that they generate.  Those of us who care about the health of aquatic ecosystems are certainly dismayed by their lack of concern and resent the damage inflicted by their discarded cups, cans and bottles.