Here where I live in North Carolina, we are within reasonable driving distance of at least six beaches. But, some that I have gone to are not well taken care of by those visiting. I look around and see candy wrappers, cigarette butts, and water bottles everywhere. While you want to have fun at the beach, you can do it is a green way.
What is some small things you can do to keep your beach looking beautiful? The most important thing is to keep the plastic at home. The Ocean Conservancy organized an international coastal cleanup and guess what almost half of the debris collected was? Plastic! Volunteers collected more than a million pounds of plastic bags, almost one million pounds of food containers/wrappers, almost a million plastic caps and lids, 710,000 plastic bottles, half a million straws, and almost half a million plastic utensils.
What can you save by cutting out the plastic? Well, in addition to making the beach look nicer by not leaving behind your plastic items, you can also help save sea life. Some experts estimate that almost one million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by plastic debris. You can eat on the beach, but next time, think about taking reusable items that can be packed up and taken back home.
Another way to keep the beach clean is to not smoke while there. The same cleanup volunteers that found all the plastic debris also found 3.2 million cigarette butts. People, it is not a huge ashtray! If you must smoke, please clean up after yourself by disposing of your cigarette butts properly and that does not mean putting them in the sand. Same thing goes for those that take their dog to the beach. No one wants to lie in doggie poop, so be sure to scoop!
Use organic sunscreen, insect spray, and cosmetics at the beach, especially if you go in the ocean. Remember that anything you have on your body can wash off and affect the fish and other sea life in the area.
The beach is a great place to enjoy during the summer, but remember that your actions not only affect the other beach goers, but also the sea life that calls the beach home.
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