MYRTLE BEACH, (WBTW) – Between 2000 and 2010, there was more plastic produced that there was produced in the entire last century, according to a 2009 study.
In just a two hour beach sweep in September of last year, nearly one thousand pieces of plastic were found along Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach State Park ranger Ann Wilson says they found 281 food wrappers, 204 plastic bottle caps, 244 plastic pieces that they couldn’t categorize, 75 straws and stirrers and other plastic pieces.
“Even if you look at a beach and it looks completely pristine, chances are, there’s going to be things that you just have to sort of tune your eyes to, and then you start seeing it everywhere,” said Pam Longobardi, an Atlanta artist who makes plastics found on oceans around the world into art.
Plastics are mistaken for food by sea turtles, fish and thousands of other marine life.
“It is also like an impostor for food,” said Longobardi. “And, lots of these pieces of plastic really are that.”
Longobardi says society has far to go before plastics in the ocean aren’t a worry anymore.
“To me, it’s really a crime against nature, and I think that’s one of the things that you know, is really important to understand that we have a lot to do with what’s going on with this material,” she said.
Hundreds of volunteers pick up trash and plastics along Myrtle Beach every year between May through August, but is it enough?
“We just have to rethink how we’re doing things,” said Wilson.
Wilson says beach-goers need to rethink when they buy cheap umbrellas and chairs and don’t take them home, leaving them to float away.
“They’re coming back with a story to tell and we owe it to the planet to really pay attention to what that story might be,” said Longobardi.
“We are leaving our kids a planet full of plastics that are not going away any time soon,” said Wilson.