The coast of Eastern Long Island offers some of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in the country, so why would anyone want to trash them with their trash?
This is a situation that has stumped activist, filmmaker, author and nature photographer Dell Cullum for some time. Committed to his community, this East Hampton resident has operated the Hampton Wildlife Removal and Rescue service for years, and is well known for his dedication to keeping our beaches and streets litter free.
Cullum recently created a video entitled "Trashampton," which can be found at the following link, www.youtube.com
Cullum states emphatically, "Garbage cans belong in locations where it is acceptable to dump trash. We are turning our beaches into dumps because the Village is allowing these dumping stations on the beach."
Watch with shame those of you who think it is acceptable to just dump your garbage in the sand for someone else to clean up, even including bags of household garbage, or to also leave fires burning on the beach - that movie title "Dumb and Dumber" comes to mind.
Cullum is in the process of creating a full-length film. (Photo: Dell Cullum)
Cullum's position is this - why have any trash receptacles on the beach in the first place? If the receptacles were relocated in the parking lot and not on the beaches there is less dumping and more likely that garbage will not end up blowing all over the sand and sometimes towards the water. "The lid of the cans have a 10" by 6" opening and much garbage does not fit through. People don't want to touch or remove and replace the top so they just dump their garbage next to the cans located on the beach."
Cullum's video also shows a Village Trustee meeting where once again the issue of removing the receptacles from the beaches and placing them on the hard-top of the parking lots is still being hashed out by elected officials. Additionally, Cullum notes, "The Village claims ownership of the beaches and that is not the case, and the Trustees are now urging the Village to remove that from their literature as it is simply not true."
The dunes play an important role here too according to Cullum, "If there is wind or other elements, or even birds - having receptacles located in the parking lot allows the edges of the dunes to sometimes prevent blowing garbage from ending up on the beach and in the water."
Cullum also believes, "Another thing wrong with the cans on the beaches is that you are promoting laziness with the excuse that people do not want to walk to the parking lot to dispose of their trash thus thwarting a carry-on/carry-off policy."
Cullum's position is this - why have any trash receptacles on the beach in the first place? (Photo: Dell Cullum)
Continuing he relayed, "The Village has banned cigarettes, plastic and balloons from the beaches but by keeping the cans on the beach is sending the message, it is acceptable to leave your garbage next to the cans or just throw your trash away on the beaches - it makes no sense."
Another benefit to having the receptacles located near the entrance to the beaches might be that those who just leave garbage outside the receptacles could be more easily observed by others going on or coming off the beach to the parking lot, rather than observing it strewn across the sand.
With so much material to share, Cullum is in the process of creating a full-length film. Presently he has so much material he is considering releasing the film in three parts.
"I'm sending out a very important message and it's worth my time to get that message out. In addition to the garbage situation, as a wildlife rescuer I receive dozens of calls a month about seagulls that need to be rescued and rehabilitated due to being poisoned by the human garbage they are consuming that lays on the sand and around the cans."
What's to ponder? A simple common sense practice could end up contributing towards the larger, more complex environmental well-being of our beaches - If you carry it on then carry it off!
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.