Diane Buhler is a South End resident, former president of West Palm 100 . While Diane has more than 23 years of financial services experience, including fixed income sales under her belt, she’s currently involved in marine conservation and local environmental causes.
I’ve been a member of the Adopt the Palm Beaches facebook group which is HQ for Diane’s beach cleanups & I wanted to catch up with her to learn more about the cleanups.
How long have you been organizing the Adopt the Palm Beaches cleanup?
I started the Adopt a Spot in may 2013 and we clean areas on Palm Beach monthly. Many residents are unaware of the incoming trash and the harm it causes to our local marinelife.
I’ve been an avid scuba diver in these waters for over 20 years and removing trash from our ocean is very important. The trash that washes in on our shores only goes back out to harm turtles, dolphins, birds, to name a few, so the more we take off the beach, the better chance for a cleaner eco-system for all, humans and animals alike. Off shore dumping is allowed 3 miles off our shores in international waters (12 miles in other areas) so the gulfstream brings it right to our backdoor.
How often are they & when is the next one?
We clean monthly. The next one coincides with the GAC, the Great American Clean Up, on Saturday, April 12th. We are hosting volunteers on the north end of Palm Beach at Dolphin Road and N. Ocean blvd. From 9am-12pm.
What’s the deal with the bottle caps?
Plastic bottle caps are everywhere, our parks, our beaches, walkways, streets, you name it, they are every where except where they should be, at a recycling plant. Now that you have read that, you will start to see them everywhere. So as we pick up an average of 1200 at each clean, we sort all plastic caps out and give them to the charity ‘caps of love’. They in turn sell the plastic to recyclers who create a host of new products and the money goes to buy children in Africa wheelchairs and needed service dogs.
16,000 lbs of just plastic caps were loaded onto a semi truck last month. 16,000 lbs of caps that no longer exists in our natural environment to harm our animals. We use an igloo filled with iced water at our cleans, no bottled water, to help eliminate the amount of plastic and harmful caps out there.
What is the craziest thing you’ve found on the beach?
It differs monthly, I have a collection at home, but lately we have been finding a ton of one shoe, either a left or a right but no pairs. And cigar tips. We picked up over 2000 on one 3-hour clean once on the north end of the island.
I was astonished by the amount and can only guess its coming from the casino ship dumping them overboard but i cant prove it, yet. And then there are toothbrushes, a G.I, Joe doll, small Santa, a cigarette lighter from Dublin and many unknown objects that go unidentified.
What type of response do you get from the islanders?
The few islanders that are aware of us or that have seen us out there have been responding very favorably. One resident and one beach association has welcomed us back multiple times to use their beach access. The southern resident allows us access where we can clean north to the public beach and south to Mar a Lago. Its a trek for the volunteers but once you are there and you see more garbage another 25 yards up, you cannot stop where you are, you just keep going until you cant carry anymore back to our starting point.
Many islanders are just not aware of the problem maybe and those that are think it’s taken care of by the town possibly, which it isn’t. It’s their responsibility but if the ocean is just dragging the trash back out, they must assume since its gone, its dealt with. That’s not so.
Where is your favorite place on Clematis Street to eat?
Hope to see you at one of the cleanups – I’ll end this blog entry with the quote that Diane always ends her emails –
Be the change you want to see in the world. – Gandhi
All pictures Courtesy of Adopt the Palm Beaches Facebook page