Letters: Save the bay, don’t trash it
As a frequent visitor to Franklin County, I feel compelled to speak out about a recent day on the water. Last week while fishing in Apalachicola Bay we spent more time picking up trash than we did fishing. Our catch included a 30-inch long piece of bubble wrap, 12 plastic ice bags, six zip-lock bags and eight Styrofoam cups, along with an air conditioning filter and a piece of construction plastic eight feet wide.
Traveling along the bridge to St. George Island I witnessed trash being propelled directly into the water by cars and trucks traveling onto and off the Island. The ice vending machine in Eastpoint is a wasteland of plastic bags and trash. The garbage cans on the town docks in Apalachicola are overflowing with Styrofoam take-out containers blowing directly into the river. We witnessed the unfortunate fire and destruction of a shrimp boat, and as of today still pass by the burned-out ice chests and other detritus left in the marsh grass across from the marina.
I stopped to take a picture of an oyster boat in the early morning light and ended up picking up a dozen plastic bottles at the water’s edge. It’s embarrassing to bring friends to the Forgotten Coast and realize how much we have done to destroy the very place we all love. There is a complacency in Franklin County, and in our world in general, that we must address. Let’s start with something as simple as picking up after ourselves and more importantly securing all that we discard so it doesn’t end up in the bay.
The oyster industry has fallen on hard times but there is hope. I encourage all concerned with the health of the bay to look up Billion Oyster Project and see first-hand the success of their work to restore the wild oyster population in New York Harbor. With over 6,000 school kids and volunteers, they are indeed turning the tide. It takes a village and they have proven through oyster shell recycling and other programs the whole ecosystem benefits. We are the apex predators of the bay and we have the power to save it.