Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
A Bright Idea on Matagorda IslandBy: Biological Technician Amanda Diaz
Southwest Region, August 12, 2008
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  The Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge hosted its first bulb pick-up this summer. Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, along with other volunteers and Refuge staff logged hundreds of hours on the island picking up compact florescent light bulbs from a 20-mile stretch of the beach. Participants were divided into several teams to cover different sites along the shore.  Over 1560 light bulbs were collected and transported for disposal. 

A common household CFL contains an average of 4 milligrams of mercury. The longer, tube-shaped bulbs, which were the majority of bulbs collected, can contain up to 15 milligrams of mercury. Individually, these small amounts of mercury are not enough to significantly harm the environment. However, if large amounts of CFLs are not disposed of properly, the mercury that escapes from the bulbs can have permanently harmful effects on the environment.

Contact Info: Chad Stinson, (361) 286-3559, chad_stinson@fws.gov
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