By Maria del Cisne Vital
Southern California is a destination spot for its fun attractions and beautiful scenery— especially that of a beach with glistening waters and smooth sands. However, with the high popularity of beaches comes the high amount of trash left behind by its visitors. According to Kellogg, by the year 2050 the amount of plastic in our oceans will exceed the amount of fish if we continue at the same rate of pollution. This week, known as the Earth Day for beaches, SoCal’s beaches invite you to take action and help clean up. Check out the tips below for how to make your day at the beach a clean one!
Tip #1: Leave only footsteps on the beach.
Always throw your trash away and don’t leave anything behind. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but after a long day at the beach it’s hard to get the motivation to clean up after your self or make the trek to find the nearest trashcan. To make this easier, bring a bag or bin where you can place your trash throughout the day. That way, your trash won’t fly away in the sea breeze and it will be in one place by the end of your stay at the beach.
Tip #2: Don’t bring plastic to the beach.
Of all the things left at the beach, plastic is quite possibly the worst because of its effect on the environment and the ocean’s creatures. Plastic is not biodegradable. When sea animals consume plastic, the plastic acts as a sponge and absorbs all of the ocean’s toxins, thus releasing toxins into the bloodstreams of these creatures. Avoid plastic bottles and bags and bring reusable ones instead!
Tip #3: Clean up after your pets.
If you’re bringing your pet to the beach, or out anywhere really, be sure that it is cleaned up after. Pet waste contains nutrients and bacteria that can degrade water quality. As always, dispose of all waste in a trashcan or pet waste receptacle.
Tip #4: Don’t use the beach as your personal ashtray.
Aside from plastic, cigarette butts are among the most common pieces of trash left behind at the beach. Whether they’re put out in the sand or tossed into the water, they are highly damaging to the beach. A cigarette butt takes about 3 to 5 years to decompose. If ingested by a sea creature, a cigarette is toxic and may even be fatal to them.
Tip #5: Spread the word.
Making a difference has a domino effect. If you start looking after your beaches, then so will others. Teaching your kids to clean up the beach is important, and you can even make a bonding experience out of it. Gather your family, friends, and community and start your own clean up.