Plastic garbage at Montara State Beach


By on Wed, July 8, 2009

Recently the Montara Beach Coalition was contacted to inform them that the bumper stickers they hand out saying "pack your trash" were being stuck on the railings and garbage cans around the beach. While I’m certain this is done with good intentions, when exposed to the weather, these stickers fall apart and leave pieces of plastic all over the beach and surrounding areas, where they can be consumed by the animals we all love and cherish, not to mention the eyesore it creates.

I asked them if they could inform people as they hand the the stickers out to use them properly, i.e. on the bumpers of cars. This seemed a simple straight foward request, however after 3 back and forth E-mails, these are some responses I recieved from a person I won’t name. (I have been asked not to quote the E-mail directly, so I will try to my best changing around some verbiage without changing the meanings): 1) It’s far fetched that marine life would ingest them; 2) there are far greater threats to marine life; 3) why don’t I peel them off myself if they bug me; 4) I should contact other environmental groups because they use bumper stickers also; 5) why don’t I come up with a better way to spread the word; 6) why don’t I put my time into cleaning up the beach; 7) my E-mails are threatening (I mentioned I might post the problem in the HMBreview, I guess that is threatening to this person); 8) I seem to have become over zealous; and # 9 my favorite, maybe I or someone else are peeling them off, and how can the Coalition control that.

Here is some info direct from the Coalition’s own web site: Plastic bags and other plastic garbage that is thrown into the ocean kills nearly 1 million sea creatures every year. Plastic trash comprises 60 to 80% of all litter. It has an incredibly long life. A plastic six-pack cover is expected to last 450 years. Almost 90% of floating marine debris is plastic. There are over 46,000 pieces of plastic debris floating on every square mile of ocean today.

These were my answers to the questions and comments: 1) Your own web site says 1 million sea creatures die every year from plastic garbage, it’s hard to believe that you really think it’s far fetched. 2) Because there are greater threats, do you think we should ignore this problem? That doesn’t seem like a solution to me, it sounds like passing the buck. 3) I had already mentioned to this person that it is impossible (ever try to peel a bumper sticker off a bumper after it’s been there awhile? Now try to peel one from a rusty railing or stinking garbage can. 4) I haven’t seen other groups bumper stickers around the beach, and once again, is this a solution or passing the buck? 5) Sorry, I’m kinda busy, and when I get free time, I go clean up the beach. 6) I clean the beach whenever I can, and it a waste of my time picking up these little pieces of bumper stickers. 7) wow you are threatened very easily. 8) Yes I am very zealous about keeping the beach clean, is this a problem? #9 is such a goofy thing I don’t quite know how to respond to it, but I guarentee you I’m not peeling the stickers off, and tossing the pieces to the wind, and find it hard to imagine that other people do this.

Needless to say, I don’t think I was taken seriously, I don’t know for sure, as I have been blocked from the Coalitions E-mail, which is why I’m writing this asking people not to leave these stickers on the garbage cans and railings. Thanks to every one who helps keep the beaches clean.

I’m not all that fond of the one MBC sticker I saw (on the handrail), but compared with the amount of work that the folks behind those stickers put into keeping our beach clean, it’s pretty insignificant.

It sounds to me like you guys have more in common than not and that this might not be the right issue to get into a fight over.

For the record The Montara Beach Coalition has never received any correspondence from a Kim Nelson, we did however receive a couple of emails from someone else who shares the same surname.  And a couple of the same issues were raised and that person did seem to get very agitated.

Reading between the lines here it seems that a couple of our stickers are causing all this hullabaloo, so to avoid any future upsets I have decided to stop giving out our ‘Pack your Trash’ stickers, they are after all made of plastic as she points out, and plastic is responsible for the majority of ocean pollution. And no, we don’t have any control over where people choose to stick them, so it’s probably a good thing.

Anyone who knows me, or the work of the Montara Beach Coalition, knows that we are passionate about the environment and put a lot of personal time and effort in to our cause.

I’m sorry this person seems so upset, I agree with Barry, seems we have more in common than not! We hope to see you at our next beach clean up KIm, keep up the good work.


Montara Beach Coalition member

(BTW: Please use .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for any correspondence, I have an aggressive spam filter in place and sometimes emails get deleted by mistake.)

My name is Rick Nelson and I tried to post this letter with my name,and it didn’t post(I found out the reason why later from Barry Parr). Kevin, I never asked, nor was it my intention for you to stop giving out the stickers, as I noted in my very first E-mail to you, I simply wished for you to ask peolple not to stick them on the railings. You have now accused me of harrassment, being agitated, ranting and raving, etc. etc. I’m not sure where those opinions are coming from, but your welcome to keep them (preferably to yourself), I was extremely careful not to say anything about you personally, and I don’t appreciae your saying things about me. Once again, thank you to all who work so hard to keep the beach clean.


I never have, nor would I ever, publicly accuse you of anything. You by posting here in this forum are making any personal differences we may have public. I’m sure no one has any interest in our private email exchanges, whatever the content (you have totally misquoted me and used my words completely out of context).

I use the word agitated in my post because YOU USE CAPITAL LETTERS a lot in your correspondence to me, and repeat yourself over and over.

I have addressed your concern in your posting, and I have no desire to make this a ‘he said, she said’ public squabble, I think we are both above that behavior.

I’ll call your attention again to Barry’s words. I consider this matter closed, I hope you do to.

Kevin, No one would ever even have known it was you that I was speaking about until you posted your reply with your name on it, so how could I possibly have made our personal differences public? I never said one word about you or your attitude, you talked about the way I was acting i.e. I was so upset, I was acting agitated, repeating myself over and over etc. etc. I will continue to keep my opinion of your behavior to myself, and once again ask that you do the same. I have not misquoted you on anything, there are no quotes to begin with, as I noted in my letter, Barry asked me not to, and I will continue to respect his wishes. I used capital letters in my E-mails because you repeatedly deferred the issue back to me and what I should do about it. The only reason this is posted here is because you disregarded my simple request on more than one occasion, then somehow after accepting three E-mails from me your “spam guard” suddenly wouldn’t let me send you my replies, and niether would the other E-mail address .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Very mysterious. If you feel I have misrpresented what you said to me, I will be happy to post the entire E-mail, if it’s o.k. with Barry. I am more than happy to consider this matter closed, and once again the only thing I ever asked out of any of this is that you simply ask people to please not put the stickers where they will far apart. It really doesn’t seem to be that difficult or hard to do.

Great! Matter closed.