Help get rid of plastic


An old guy visits the beach behind Encinal High School several days a week. Sometimes he sits on the sand to watch terns and pelicans, or the glow of a sunset on the Bay, but mostly he walks along the tideline picking up debris and putting it in a bucket. 

When it’s full he empties it into a bin over by the toilets. He collects all things plastic: cutlery, water bottles, bottle caps, coffee cups, bags, chunks of Styrofoam, gloves, fishing stuff and more.

He picks up a lot of coffee cups. He wonders sometimes as he dumps them in his bucket what the curvy Starbucks mermaid would think if she came to life, glided into the waves, and found her image on plastic cups slowly drifting on the sun-sparkled tide.

He read that 1 million plastic water bottles are manufactured every minute. He read that plastic debris in the oceans is as big an environmental problem as global warming and that 90 percent of sea-birds have plastic in their guts. Some days, especially after strong winds, there’s so much plastic debris on the beach he can clean just a few yards before his aging back starts hurting. But he keeps going.

If you’re touched by his story here are two things you can do. Take a bucket to the beach and gather plastic debris. Don’t buy plastic bottles of drinking water. They’re totally unnecessary (tap water is fine!) and they’re creating a huge environmental problem.

Managers at Safeway, Lucky and Trader Joe’s stores: Are you reading this?


Emmanuel Williams

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