Local nature photographer Dell Cullum appeared before the East Hampton Town Board last Thursday night, talking trash.
Cullum's been on a quest to convince officials to address the increasing litter problem at town beaches. He's posted numerous photos, taken at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett, on Facebook, lensed a short film that was the subject of a feature in this newspaper (Check Indy's online archives for the August 28 article, "Eden Abused in East Hampton"), and most recently created a website entitled TheUglyHamptons.com.
Speaking to the town board, Cullum, who takes pictures every morning at area beaches, decried a "pattern of neglect" in terms of trash on the beaches. Guidelines for fires and littering are clearly explained, but not enforced. From one year to the next, he said the problem has "increased tenfold."
Acknowledging enforcement staff is stretched thin, the East Hampton resident said community members need to step up. So far, Cullum said, he's received help and ideas from people who "have the same heartfelt care for this town as I know many of you do."
In fact, following a recent posting of photos showing the messy aftermath of a party, which included plastic cups inscribed with a company name, Facebook friends and Cullum tracked down the party planning firm and the caterer responsible for the mess. They found the mass gathering permit allowing the event, and, once contacted, the caterer promised to clean up the mess, which had been there for two days after the event.
"I don't think trash is a complicated issue to solve, but what I saw over this summer was so disgusting it made my heart cry," Cullum told the board. He urged both the town board and the public to act soon to address the problem before next summer, to preserve one of the last beautiful and untouched places the public can control, and promised to return with more information, ideas and photographs.