The Importance of Cleaning the Beach

As the year continues to get hotter during the upcoming summer months, a nice trip to the

beach might suffice one’s need for relaxation and vacation time. However, trips to the beach

might be tarnished and ruined by unclean circumstances that not only affect one’s enjoyment of

the beach but also continue to harm our environment. Simple everyday items that aren’t

disposed of properly can harm the wildlife in the oceans and have also been leading causes of

death in some marine life species. Most of these harmful items usually include some forms of

plastic. Plastic, unlike other more disposable materials, takes up to 10 million years to

decompose. If plastic gets into the ocean, it is almost guaranteed that it will harm marine life in

some sort of way. If humans don’t do something to help end this issue now, then it is predicted

that by the year 2040 there will be more plastic trash in the ocean than actual marine life.

Luckily, there are some easy solutions that every single person can do to help combat the issues

proposed by beach pollution.

Before you learn what you can do to help combat the issue of beach pollution, it is

important to understand what it is and why it is so harmful. Beach pollution, by definition, is

“any harmful substance that contaminates our coasts, ranging from plastic, trash, and litter to

sewage, pesticides, and oil.” This means average items such as plastic rings, foam items, plastic food wrappers, plastic bottles, and plastic straws are all considered beach pollution. In fact,

studies conducted by the Surfrider Foundation estimated that the top ten collected items in the

beach trash clean-ups of 2021 included: cigarette butts, rope, foam fragments smaller than a

dime, plastic fragments larger than a dime, plastic food wrappers, foam fragments larger than a

dime, plastic fragments smaller than a dime, plastic bottle caps, plastic straws, and plastic

bottles. Alongside many of these common items were plastic silverware, plastic bags, foam cups

and containers, and balloons. These items harm the environment by destroying the habitat of

marine life and also killing them as well. It is estimated that plastic waste kills more than 100

million marine animals alone, and also affects up to 800 different animal species. Also, is it

estimated that 1 in 3 marine animals will get entangled in plastic and that about 100,000 die each

year from being entangled in plastic. As insane as that sounds, it's not hard to believe considering

that humans average a shocking 14 billion pounds of plastic into the ocean each year. These

heartbreaking statistics show the harsh reality of beach pollution and its terrible effects on the

ocean and marine life.

Now that you understand what beach pollution is and its harmful effects on the

environment, you may be considering what you can do to help. Luckily for you, there are many

simple ways in which you and everyone else can help. You can start by either reducing your use

of plastic items like straws and bags by using biodegradable materials or reusable items instead

or even completely cutting out your use of plastic. Consider buying from brands that are

environmentally friendly, and be wary of big corporate name brands. Swap out plastic straws

and bags for reusable items to reduce your use of plastic, and when you do use plastic make sure

to always recycle and compost. Lastly, you can partake in beach clean-ups around your

community to help rid the beach of trash, and even donate to organizations that help clean the

beach. By partaking in your own ways, you are single-handedly working alongside others to

change the unfortunate circumstances of oceans and beaches all over the world. Hopefully, as the

hot summer months continue on, the issues of beach pollution will be more apparent than ever

and will inspire others to take action against it.


Take Action:

Surfrider Foundation

4Oceans

Oceana

Natural Resources Defense Council

Lonely Whale Foundation


Sources:

100+ Ocean Pollution Statistics & Facts (2020-2021) (condorferries.co.uk)

Beach Pollution 101 | How to Help | NRDC

How Plastic Trash Hurts Marine Animals (theodysseyonline.com)

Results – Surfrider Foundation US

11 Amazing Organizations Fighting to Save Our Oceans | Southern Living

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