Surfing at Leo Carrillo in Southern California. Photo credit: Kyle Lishok.
Alexis Henry wrote this guest post about keeping our oceans, waves and beaches clean and healthy.
Henry is the communications manager for the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
Picture this: spring break is right around the corner and your ticket is booked to a sunny, warm beach. On your first day, you and your friends get up early, grab some breakfast and coffee, and head down to the beach to celebrate the start of spring break.
And the beach is closed.
Sadly, this scenario plays out more than we might think. In fact, each year there are over 18,000 beach closures or health advisories issued due to contaminated water.
What’s more, every three seconds, approximately 70 tons of sewage and human effluent is discharged into the world’s waterways, eventually ending up in the ocean.
Maui, Hawaii. Photo credit: Kyle Lishok.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do when we are at home that can ensure clean and healthy coastal waters for everyone including:
Pick Up After Your Pet
Sounds simple enough, but what we don’t realize is that many people either “forget” to bring bags when they take Spot on a walk, or say that they will “pick it up on the way back.” Either way, the waste stays on the ground, and more times than not gets washed into our storm drains and out into the ocean.
When carried out to sea, pet wastes can spread diseases such as canine distemper and feline toxoplasma gondii, which are devastating to seal and sea otter populations. Not only this, it can make us sick when we go swimming.
Pick Up After Yourself
How many times have you gone to the beach and watched someone put out a cigarette in the sand and leave it there? Or witnessed someone flick one into a gutter where it can end up on our beach? Those butts add up: there are over 176 million pounds of discarded cigarette butts in the United States each year!
Hold on to your butt if you smoke and dispose of it in a proper waste container. While you’re at it (or at the beach), make sure you pick up your trash when you go to leave, and try to pick up at least three pieces of somebody else’s. If we all did this, we’d have our beaches and coastlines looking better in no time, and our water would be cleaner too.
The Wedge in Newport Beach, California. Photo credit: Kyle Lishok.
Eliminate Runoff From Your Property
Runoff cannot be traced to a single source…it comes from all of us and affects the quality of our coastal waters. Pollutants runoff our buildings, parking lots, driveways and landscapes into our waterways and oceans, degrading their health and our enjoyment.
By applying CPR (conservation, permeability and retention) to our landscapes and outdoor spaces, we can revive our watersheds and also reduce the amount of runoff entering our oceans, all while creating a beautiful Ocean Friendly Garden.
There are many other ways we can keep our oceans, waves and beaches clean and healthy. We’re calling on everyone this World Water Day to do their part so we can enjoy our beautiful oceans, waves and beaches year-round.
Read more Green Traveler.