Summer is here again! It’s time to get our dose of ‘Vitamin Sea’ – with some sun, sand & surf! But, while we get caught up in the thrill of enjoying a day at the beach, are we forgetting something that’s more important? We must care for our oceans and ensure we clean the beach, not just for us, here and today, but also for future generations. First, let’s talk about what’s happening to our oceans and beaches.
Revitalize our oceans, clean our beaches
All of us need to play our part to revitalize our oceans and save our beaches. Let’s understand some reasons to prevent ocean and beach pollution.
Why to save oceans and clean beaches?
Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. They are a valuable life source, sustaining humans and other living beings on the planet. In addition, they are home to birds, crustaceans, as well as seaweed that depend on the ocean ecosystem.
The ocean produces 50% of the Earth’s oxygen. Seaplants like phytoplankton and kelp utilize carbon dioxide and sunlight to make oxygen needed by all living things. Oceans absorb almost 30% of CO2 created by people to cushion the effects of global warming. The ocean also regulates our weather and climate.
The oceans are responsible for the biodiversity of the planet. It is the primary source of protein for over 1 billion people. In addition, the sea is vital to our economy, as almost 40 million people are part of ocean-based industries. Beaches help to protect the places adjacent to them from wind and waves, acting as a safety buffer.
One of the problems we need to discuss before we proceed, is the garbage patch affecting our seas and ocean environment.
The great garbage patch problem
Now, let’s talk about ‘the great garbage patch.’ All of us know that the trash on the beach ends up in our oceans. In reality, there are five seriously threatening garbage patches known around the world. The most significantly huge among them is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – GPGP in short, which engulfs approximately 1.6 million sq. km. of surface area in the Pacific ocean… that’s three times the size of France. Isn’t that shocking?
What’s even scarier is that the GPGP is only expanding, along with the remaining four garbage patches. The trash on the beach and other plastic waste will probably be there for a long time, or at least until they break down into microplastics – both of them being equally dangerous to oceans and all of us, as well.
Crucial causes of beach pollution
What should you look out for when participating in beach clean-ups to remove all the trash on the beach?
- plastic bottles & bottle caps
- wrappers of snacks and candy bars
- tiny plastic fragments washed up from the ocean, called ‘nurdles‘
- applicators, pads, and other feminine hygiene products
- condoms and balloons
- fishing gear (especially if wrapped in seaweed)
- any flushable waste, including tampons, baby wipes, wet wipes, and diapers
In addition to this, there are many causes of beach pollution that you should know about. For all these reasons, the ocean and our beaches require your support today. So, let us come together to save our ocean and find out how to keep our beaches clean.
How to keep the beach clean?
Here are simple tips you can follow for a clean beach and to keep the oceans safe.
1. Be a clean beach baby: Dispose of all your trash on the beach. Pick up after yourselves and your pets. Be an ocean-friendly pet owner. Know what should and should not go down the drain or toilet. Carry your own trash bag. Or pick up trash on the beach to dispose of it properly in garbage bins, whenever you can.
2. ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ – This should always be your clean beach mantra. Always choose eco-friendly products, on your next beach visit. Switch to products with recyclable packaging and refills, as & when you can. Try to buy larger-sized items and refill smaller bottles at home, before heading out.
3. Say ‘NO’ to plastic: Avoid using plastic items to stop further beach pollution. Stop buying products that cause harm to the ocean environment. Before buying, read all product labels and understand the ingredients used, to minimize your plastic waste.
4. Feed yourself, not the animals: If you need to snack, remember it’s only for you and not the beach or marine life. Do not disturb marine ecology and the ocean ecosystem by feeding the animals (sea turtles, dolphins, birds, etc.) or releasing any food waste into water bodies.
5. Every small action matters: Cut the six-pack rings before tossing them out. Swap out single-use items with reusable and recyclable products, which are safer for you and the planet. Dispose of garbage in the correct trash bins. Even ‘small stuff’ you do can make a ‘BIG difference!’
6. Support local beaches: Adopt a local beach (or reef) to help protect our oceans and marine life. Donate to ocean-saving causes and spread the word; help to clean beaches in & around your local community and keep them safe. Support ethical businesses that give back to the planet.
7. Choose ocean-friendly products: Switch your sunscreen to a reef-friendly sunscreen (check out this list!) Use ocean-friendly skincare products to protect yourself from the sun, while also protecting ocean ecosystems from further damage and plastic waste. Grab any of the eco-friendly beach towels and flip-flops we’ve curated here, for your next beach visit.
8. Eat seafood consciously: Only consume sustainably caught seafood. Avoid eating ocean-harvested fish. Instead, make more sustainable seafood choices.
9. Volunteer for beach clean-up drives: You will not realize the satisfaction of contributing to a beach clean-up drive until you participate in one yourself. Did you know: you can apply for your own beach clean-up permit with the LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
A clean beach is a green beach!
It is vital to clean our beaches and maintain the safety of our shorelines. If you wish to extend your support by saving our oceans and clean beaches, read more about the 2-minute beach clean initiative and The Ocean Clean-up right here.
Remember: Our beaches need us just as much as we need them.