Every time you see trash on the ground, it’s safe to assume that it could make its way to the ocean. Let that sink in. Every plastic bottle or cigarette butt you you walk past on the side walk, every food container or plastic coated coffee cup. While singe-use plastic recyclables are frequently the (avoidable) culprits, it's also common to see landfill-only items like straws, plastic bags, and balloons eventually make their way to the waters edge. Not only are these items just gross to see when you're walking barefoot, enjoying nature, but they're also incredibly bad for the health of our oceans. Once plastic enters the ocean, it continues to break down into a smaller and smaller pieces. It's ingested by animals like dolphins, turtles, and fish, and eventually becomes part of a "plastic smog" that chokes ecosystems with toxic chemicals before eventually making it back up the food chain and into our bodies. Luckily, beach cleanup can prevent that much of that from happening!
Plastic doesn't break down, it only breaks up into smaller, and smaller pieces.
What We're Doing to Help
At Wavehuggers, we're committed to promoting ocean-consciousness and protecting the waves we love from plastic pollution. In order to keep our California beaches looking pristine, and make sure items like these never make their way into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, we regularly sponsor community beach cleanups, and practice mini #take3forthesea cleanups every time we're at the beach (which is a lot!)
While picking up trash wouldn't normally sound like a fun project, we've found that beach cleanups feel a lot more like a scavenger hunt! Volunteers spend an hour or two walking around our favorite California beaches, usually picking up smaller items like bottle caps, random microplastics, and sifting though seaweed to pluck out small pieces of styrofoam to make sure it doesn't end up being mistaken for fish food. This time is a great opportunity to catch up with friends, meet new ones, and engage with your community, all while soaking up some sun and doing something that will make you feel good about yourself!
During one of our last beach cleanups with our conservation partner Daana Blue we collected 260 pounds of trash in Huntington State Beach! Thanks to all of our volunteers, we cared for our beach and helped preserve it.
Do you want to volunteer at our next beach cleanup? Join our mailing list below, or follow @wavehuggers on Instagram for to hear about our next event!