Have you seen the Leave Only Footprints rules posted on signs? Do you know why it’s important to keep our beaches free of litter and left-behind tents or beach chairs?
Of course, we want to keep those white-sand beaches pristine and clean for all to enjoy. In fact, we think the Alabama Gulf Coast is just about the most beautiful place on the planet. But litter – including packaging, bottle caps and cigarette butts – is unsightly and takes away from the view.
But that’s not the only reason. Aside from being an eyesore, trash on the beach is harmful to your fellow tourists and to our local wildlife. Those seagulls overhead think anything left behind is food, and they’ll try to eat it. That’s not safe. Crabs and sea turtles that make their home in the sand can be endangered by litter as well.
That’s one of the reasons the ordinances prohibit items such as tents, chairs and other gear from being left on the beach overnight. City crews will collect and dispose of any items that are there after dark.
But that trash we see on the beach is just the beginning. Left on the beach, it can make its way into the Gulf of Mexico to endanger marine life and pollute our waterways.
Aside from keeping it beautiful, we need to keep it sustainable. And that is why it’s important to get everyone on board with conservation measures like the Leave Only Footprints regulations.