To the editor:
Facing a full moon high tide did not deter 30 volunteers in Common Fence Point (CFP) from heading to the area’s beaches, no matter how tight the spaces were between water and land.
Well, actually, Joe and Pat Baker from Island Park were forced to return because they were going to tackle the beaches and saltmarsh surrounding Island Road, but the tide had claimed the road, as it often does. But they cheerfully walked back to the sign-in site, requested another site and did a super job.
Phyllis Cloutier reported a gull was actually following her as she cleaned the beaches off Sakonnet Road. Another group cited a dead duck floating that did not appear to be entangled in anything. The most unique item found was a bottle from the 1890s. Curiously it was an opiate formula, used to quiet crying babies. Yikes!
Thanks to the volunteers who cleaned four miles of coastline and picked up and catalogued 252 pounds of beach litter! Despite the high tide, CFP families and friends picked up 67 plastic cups and plates, 40 foam and 22 paper cups and plates, 29 takeout food containers, 268 food wrappers, 156 caps and lids, 121 straws, 86 cans, 146 plastic bottles and 22 glass bottles. In a period of three hours, 55 grocery bags, 12 cigarette lighters, 140 other plastic bags, 30 strapping bands and 350 pieces of plastic (smaller than 2.5 cm) were collected.
As per usual, Sakonnet River Bridge beach reported the bulk of all catagories, including four diapers and half of the condoms and tampons found throughout the Point. Thanks to Avery Smith from Tiverton for joining the force of Leanne to tackle that area also known as — for 20-plus years — the dirtiest beach.
Interesting to note that we received a request from a doctor of marine science at UConn to please clean the Hummocks beach side of the bridge. She claimed it was disgusting. The Common Fence Point Improvement Association has implored the state to put up bilingual littering fine signs for decades for both sides of the bridge. We try.
Thanks to Jackie Shearman who made brownies for the volunteers. They were eaten with great gusto! Thanks to Paul, who came early to haul the tables out of the hall, and to Tom for hanging around to bring them back in for me. And finally thanks to the Portsmouth Department of Public Works for their promise to pick up the trash bags that volunteers dragged up to the perimeter roads. It does take a village. See you same time next year!