Despite the national trend to offer irresistible deals on Black Friday, REI decided to close the doors to all retail stores, encouraging consumers to #OptOutside and spend the day outdoors. Surfrider Foundation endorses REI for their #OptOutside movement. Here on Eastern Long Island, we held a beach cleanup at Ponquogue Beach. Over 40 volunteers showed up and collected about 200 pounds of trash. 

@OptOutside Beach Cleanup Flyer

The amount of litter we found on the beach was startling. The content ranged from the “normal” cigarettes and straws, to rusty road signs, abandoned coolers and telephone wire. Not only did this represent a lack of stewardship by locals but by the Eastern Long Island community as a whole.

We found litter throughout the dunes, along roadsides, and an astonishing amount of litter by the docks. Not all that we found was in the form of trash; 8 dead birds were reported from gulls to towhees.

Despite the disheartening amount of trash we found riddling our beaches, we were beyond pleased by how much we were able to accomplish, in just an hour and a half of cleaning. Check out the photos below to see the dumpster we filled, provided by the Town Trustees of Southampton. Not included though, was the remarkable amount of trash we found at the town dock.

It takes a whole village to clean the beach!

It takes a whole village to clean the beach!

We didn't have enough hands to remove all of the trash from the docks.

We didn’t have enough hands to remove all of the trash from the docks.

Parents lift their children to add their collected litter to the dumpster.

Parents lift their children to add their collected litter to the dumpster.

They say many hands make light work but it seems like we have a lot more work to do. If you have any suggestions about where we should hold our next beach cleanup, feel free to leave a comment below.  Thank you so much for those who decided to show up and we will be organizing another cleanup soon! 

Long live the beach, long live Long Island, and thank you for choosing to #OptOutside with us on Black Friday!