Letter to the Editor: "Trash Collected Along Fulton Beach Road"

by Chuck McMurtrey
Fulton, Texas

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"One thing my wife and I noticed when we first moved to Fulton, Texas was the beautiful bays and outstanding wildlife. The next thing we notice was the amount of trash. We live very near the waters edge where I run two miles a day during the week. One question that was always on my mind was just how much trash is there?

Reference Only
Being the anal retentive person I sometimes am, I decided to collect trash on my runs with old Walmart bags, and keep track of the weight. Sounds like fun, huh? Well, a year is up and I can draw a few conclusions.

Question: The largest type of trash?
Answer: Plastic bottles followed by beer cans.

Question: How many Walmart bags did I use?
Answer: Just over 100.

Question: What was the oddest thing I found?
Answer: A wild pigs head. (I left it in the ocean)

Question: Did I ever contract an illness from collecting?
Answer: Nope, but I guess it is possible.

Question: Did I ever see someone drop trash?
Answer: Only once and it was an uncovered trash collection truck. Oh the irony!

Question: Did I ever receive compensation?
Answer: I did get cash for recycling the cans, and a "Thanks" from the Mayor of Fulton.

Question: What did I do with the trash from collection?
Answer: I dropped it in my own home trash and then to the Transfer Station.

Question: Ok, get on with it. How much did you collect?
Answer: Just over 400 pounds over the same two mile stretch.

I did meet several people that gave me thanks along the way, and I'm very happy that I did this little experiment. Just think if each one of us took those "useless" plastic bags and collect trash on our walks or bicycling, or running, just how much prettier Fulton and Rockport would be!

Please sign up for a bill to be introduced in 2013 to add a $.05 deposit on all beverage containers below."



Alicia said…
After returning to Rockport after a trip to Colorado, it is truly sickening to see the difference in environmental conscious from there to here. I'm glad you wrote this to bring awareness in this area. I hope some of that CO mentality makes its way to the Texas Coastal Bend!...hopefully sooner than later!
Anonymous said…
Are you still gathering trash or was this just a short-lived experiment?? If you are, thank you...
Chuck McMurtrey said…
Dear Anonymous:

Just a little more background, my wife and I have lived for two years this last July. During that time I have been actively picking up trash along my running route. It has only been the last year where I have kept track of the amount of trash. To make a long story short, I'm hooked on cleaning up as long as we live here. So, if you travel between Taws and Paws, and the new Boardwalk development you'll have an unspoiled view of the ocean. I hope I see other people out there doing the same. Thanks. Chuck
Anonymous said…
Chuck, Since I am almost as anal as you, I calculated that 400 lbs. per year, running 5 days per week is over 1.5 lbs. of trash per trip! Amazing! Thanks for doing that. Hopefully you will inspire others to help out a bit. There is no reason why a healthy person should walk by a piece of trash on the street and not pick it up.
Chuck McMurtrey said…
BK, I wholeheartedly agree.

betsy said…
Thanks, I think people that do these things were raised by some kind of great parents. I have a request. If your mom is still alive, call her and tell her I wanted you to call to give her credit. It will make her day. I promise.
Gayly Opem said…
Great job and great report Chuck. My husband and I moved to the Rockport area last year and I too was shocked to see the amount of litter along the roads and shoreline. And that comment is from someone used to living in a big city (Chicago). What is dumped in our rivers and lakes is equally appalling, particularly when you consider they are a source for our drinking water. I clean up 200 yds of Lake Michigan shoreline regularly and it is not unusual to remove 20+ pounds of trash. You might want to watch for the international beach adoption and cleanup in September every year that is done around the world including the Gulf Coast area. Add your collection to it so your work becomes part of a databank that is used to suggest policies and rules to control dumping and littering.
J. Fox said…
It's almost always after the weekends, I see it all the time,behind Valero, and the Holiday Inn. Wataberger, McDonald's, Sonic, and Burger King cups everywhere....Would be a cause to use some of the HOT money since our tourists are the biggest litterer's...We have ordinances, but they don't seemed to be enforced..........
Anonymous said…
Here here! I agree...stricter enforcement. But I'm sure catching people littering isn't an easy task.
Chuck McMurtrey said…

Thanks. My mom is no longer with us, but I'm sure it would make her very happy.

Chuck McMurtrey said…
Thanks Gayly,

I'll keep an eye for "Beach Adoption" in September. If I had to collect 20+ pounds of trash each day, my poor little back couldn't make it.
Chuck McMurtrey said…
Funny story. My wife and I did see someone in the process of littering. A little girl threw out a 32 ounce cup out of the side window of the front passenger seat next to her mother driving. We yelled "Hey, you dropped something there!" and the mom had a shocked look on her face.

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