Throwing that candy wrapper or plastic bottle into the proper receptacle when you’re at the beach may seem like a small thing. But it can make a big difference in our environment.
Each year, an estimated 17 billion pounds of plastic ends up in our oceans. That plastic – along with other debris and trash – poses a threat to wildlife, as they can become entrapped or mistake the items for food. Even fishing gear left behind is a hazard.
The amount of plastic ending up in our waterways could eventually equal a pound of waste for every three pounds of fish. See the problem?
Even the trash that doesn’t end up washed out into the gulf endangers wildlife along the shoreline. Birds can mistake plastic wrappers for food, and that’s unhealthy or even deadly for them.
Add to that the fact that cigarette butts, bottle caps (remember, glass is prohibited on the beach), straws and dirty diapers are unsightly. Who wants to visit a beach covered with someone else’s trash?
So what can you do? First, pick up after yourself. Be sure your beach spot is clear of all trash, debris and gear at the end of the day.
Second, join in a Coastal Cleanup effort, or adopt a beach then grab some gloves and a garbage bag.
Third, spread the word. Teach your kids and show them how to be good stewards of our natural resources.