Dirty underpants, a mannequin wearing socks, an air conditioner and a still-working iPhone were among some of the stranger items of trash picked up from the beach last year.
Plastics have always accounted for the largest percentage of cleaned-up garbage — about 77 percent. Many plastic items can kill marine life by choking them or tangling their intestines.
People think these single-use plastic items are disposable, but they're really not. Cigarette filters account for 13 percent of the trash.
Millions of pieces of trash are picked up every year and disposed of or recycled. Plastic six-pack beverage can rings were a major problem up and down our beaches. They are particularly lethal to turtles and birds, who would become entangled in them and choke. In recent years, however, cleaners have found much fewer six-pack rings, mainly because more beverages are sold in cardboard containers.
But balloons, particularly Mylar-coated ones, are on the rise. People either let them go on purpose or they slip out accidentally, fly for miles and end up in rivers or the Bay, endangering marine life.
Clear plastics in general are dangerous for turtles, which mistake them for fish and eat them, often with fatal results.
Other items picked up in recently include toilet seats, a pregnancy test (result unclear), bags of pet waste, an 8-track tape, half a Barbie doll, a tube of denture cement, a jockstrap and fake breasts.