Trash travels. Do not let its journey start with you.

Rhonda Cummins
Trash travels. Do not let its journey start with you.

Rhonda Cummins is shown with the safety rules at her 19th cleanup.

Editor’s Note: Our Plastic and Water Don’t Mix segment this month highlights the efforts of the 106 member volunteer workforce who participated in the 32nd Annual Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup event that was held October 6, 2018 near the communities of Magnolia Beach and Indianola on Matagorda Bay.

Rhonda Cummins earns TSFMag “mega-conservation kudos” for steadfastly organizing and spearheading this most-worthy event for so many years. Your dedication to a noble cause is both greatly commendable and appreciated.

TSFMag is proud to have been able to contribute toward lunch and refreshments for the attendees. We also want to thank Yeti for their donation of custom drinkware they so generously donated for door prizes.  

Great corporate partners involved in conservation of natural resources - Costa Del Mar who sponsor this column - and Yeti with their generous donations of branded drinkware, are excellent examples of successful companies that get it right when it comes to supporting fisheries and marine conservation worldwide.

Remember Costa and Yeti when you do your Christmas shopping this year. Your support of these fine companies enables their ability to participate in events like Texas Adopt-A-Beach and many other initiatives. 

Rhonda Cummins was kind enough to prepare a recap of the recent cleanup and I could never say it as well as she does. So, here’s Rhonda….  


Inclement weather in September postponed the 32nd annual fall Adopt-A-Beach cleanup but the event was held successfully on Saturday, October 6. Most storm clouds skirted around Magnolia Beach on Saturday morning for the 106 volunteers who came to clean the six mile area of Matagorda Bay shoreline between Magnolia and Indianola. The main beach and several pocket beaches were strewn with a variety of trash, mostly from careless visitors.  A total of nearly 1100 pounds of trash was hauled away by the public works crew from Calhoun County Precinct 1. Volunteers enjoyed a gourmet beach lunch at the Magnolia Beach Volunteer Fire Department barn after the cleanup. Three lucky participants won donated Yeti door prizes.

Marine debris is not an ocean problem. It is a people problem, thus people are the solution. Dedicated volunteers who show up rain or shine to clean the beaches are important but these events are not the long term answer. The flow of garbage — plastic, cigarette butts, food wrappers, beer cans, glass bottles, fireworks, construction materials, Styrofoam, fishing gear, bait containers, ice bags, etc.—from people to the environment has to stop. To achieve an ocean free of trash, people need to be more careful with the products they use and what happens after they use them.

Solving the problem of trash in the ocean begins on land. Pick up after yourself. If you drop it, pick it up. If an animal tears into your household trash the night before the garbage pickup, it is your responsibility to clean it up out of your yard. Do not wait for it to blow away. Do not leave dirty diapers on the parking lots or the beaches. No one wants them. Do not let trash fly out of the back of your pickup truck. Do not throw trash out your car windows. Use trash cans when they are available. When they are not, pack out what you packed in and throw it away when you get home.

In other words:  DO NOT LITTER. Yes, this means YOU. It means ME. It means EVERYONE. Otherwise people continue to be the problem, not the solution.

*Rhonda Cummins is the Calhoun County Extension Agent for Coastal and Marine Resources with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service and the Texas Sea Grant College Program.