The Glass Sand Beach

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  • Next to time you’re in San Francisco, take a road trip north up the coast to Fort Bragg, and experience one of natures’ defining moments, its ability to turn trash into treasure.

    In the early part of last century, Fort Bragg chose to dispose of its household waste off the cliffs above a beach near the town. With little regard for the environmental damage or pollution they were causing, its inhabitants tossed household waste, appliances, even automobiles into the sea. Eventually the beach was so seriously polluted it was nicknamed ‘The Dumps’.

    In 1967 the North Coast Water Quality Board closed the area completely and initiated a series of cleanups to slowly reverse decades of pollution. But there was one thing too impossible to tackle: the millions of tiny glass shards churning in the surf.

    Over time the unrelenting ocean waves have, in a sense, cleansed the beach, turning the sand into a sparkling, multicoloured bed of smooth glass stones now known as Glass Beach.  Now a popular tourist attraction, the California State Park System has even gone so far as purchasing the property and incorporating it into the surrounding MacKerricher State Park. 

    Where it was once illegal to dump glass on the beach – now, it is against the law to remove it. You've gotta love the irony in this.

    Such a shame life isn't this poetic when dealing with plastic bags.

    Images courtesy of:
    digggs, matthew high, lee rentz and kara brugman.




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    References: http://thisiscolossal.com/