While there is a more noble reason for the holiday, in the minds of many, summer unofficially begins on the Memorial Day weekend. Hundreds, maybe thousands, packed up the kids and spent a day or a weekend at one of the towns strung like a necklace along the Jersey shore.
I’ve kicked off many a summer at the shore on Memorial weekend, sometimes shivering on the chilly beach, or ignoring the misty rain, or giggling on a sunshiny day. The shore is the same to me, rain or shine. I think it’s the way it smells: Salt water, dunes, waving grass, the click of seashells, the rhythm of the waves. . . . There’s something magical in that.
Sadly, our beaches are under attack from ordinary beachgoers, the year-round residents say, Their environment deserves respect and, more often than not, the residue of a day at the shore fails to make it to the trash receptacle strategically placed near the beach exit.
Memorial Day weekend is a good time to talk about this. Every year in our area, people go to the shore for boardwalk fun, sun and soft sand. . .but they’re not in their own backyards and so they morph into litterbugs, letting the remains of their lunch and snacks blow away in the wind and into the ocean.
And there are others who don’t appreciate the importance of the sand dunes and let little Johnny run up and down, and over the grasses as the protective dune dwindles.
Some people down the shore claimed to have seen a change in the latest incoming, littering crowds. More litter bugs are on their way, they fear, but what can be done about it? Maybe, there could be a checkpoint, a literature drop, something to educate the fun-seekers before they hit the beach.
Not realistic, so forget that one.
The answer lies within. Preach environmental protection, sensible stuff, not like the “Green New Crazy Deal.” Understand what it means to protect our precious resources and personally commit to it. Tell the kids. Commit to the trash can and leave your spot on the beach as clean as you found, before “lunch.”
Also, stay off the dunes, you and Johnny. Make it a great day.