Our beaches are the bridge between our world and the ocean. Summer weather attracts thousands of visitors to beaches across the world and sometimes visitors bring waste. Beaches are fragile environments. We must be attentive in how we treat these stretches of land.
It is necessary to keep our beaches clean if we hope to keep our oceans clean. The sand and surf is far more than a place to build sand castles and take a dive. Beaches are home to various creatures from sea lions to sea turtles. Many animals depend on land to survive. Land that is untainted by chemical wastes or human wastes. Marine life, dwelling only in the water, are also affected by waste on beaches. When the tides rise, they collect items on the beach and take the items out when the water lowers, including trash. This can have negative effects on marine life. Corrine Henn found that trash and plastic pollution affect 100 million marine mammals each year. Animals do not know that a shiny candy wrapper is not meant to be eaten. It can easily be mistaken as a fish or piece of kelp. If ingested our trash can cause harm. However, trash can cause injury even if it is not ingested, Creatures have been reported having straws stuck in their noses, or head stuck in plastic bottle rings. Jane J. Lee, explains the viral video that took over the internet of the sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose. She stated that no one knew exactly how the straw got there but it defiantly was not pleasant nor easy to remove. There are ways to prevent this from happening to our ocean creatures. By keeping this environment trash free we help protect and preserve marine life.
Each individual can better the ocean's ecosystem by playing their part in keeping the beaches clean. The process is simple, easy, and a great lesson for the entire family!
How can you keep our beaches clean?
Along with the beach towels and umbrellas, bring along something to keep your trash in. This way you know where your trash is going and it is easier to keep track of. If you are eating at the beach utilize spaces designed for eating. Some beaches offer picnic benches and areas to snack. Use these areas to throw away waste and prevent anything from scattering across the sand.
Be prepared to see trash already on the beach. Not everyone has a perfect memory and may forget about their waste or it may have been blow away from them by the wind. If you find someone else's trash on the beach, be kind and pick it up. I would wish for someone to do the same if I forgot about the trash left behind.
How to pick up the trash?
Most pharmacy type stores sell grabbers used to pick up things so if you are worried about touching the trash these are a useful tool. Otherwise you can wear gloves to pick up waste. Beaches usually have places to put trash, so after you are finished collecting, dispose of it properly.
We are protectors of the environment and the life it sustains. Keeping our earth as well as the oceans clean is a great way to teach the family about the importance of having a clean earth free up scattered trash. The easiest way to do this is to simply pick it up!
Check with your local Surfrider Chapter for local beach cleanups.
Heather Weller, Plea for the Sea
Henn Corrine. “These 5 Marine Animals Are Dying Because of Our Plastic Trash … Here’s How We Can Help.” One Green Planet. 5 Feb. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.
Lee J. Jane. “How Did Sea Turtle Get a Straw Up Its Nose?” National Geographic. 17 Aug. 2015. Web. 13 Aug 2017.