Keeping our seas trash free starts on land with how we dispose of items. Unless the tide of trash to sea is stemmed, there will be an estimated one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025, creating massive environmental, economic and health issues.
Whether you’re a resident of South Florida, or a visitor to Fort Lauderdale Beach, you can help make a difference every day to create trash-free seas.
10 Tips to Keep Our Seas Trash Free
Watch what you throw. Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Most waste thrown inland eventually make their way out to sea.
Minimize use of plastic bags. Plastic bags do not biodegrade. Instead, they photo-degrade and break down into smaller and more toxic particles to contaminate both water and soil. The danger is real and alarming: in a planet where everything is connected, these chemicals enter the food system to eventually poison humans. Curbing our over-reliance on plastic bags minimizes this threat.
Bring your own water tumbler instead of relying on bottled water for hydration. High concentrations of plastic bottles may block the breathing passages and stomachs of many large marine species like sharks and whales.
Dispose of cigarette butts properly. Did you know that cigarette butts are the top items collected at International Coastal Cleanup drives globally? They are followed by food wrappers and plastic water bottles. Last year, more than two million cigarette butts, 1.6 million food wrappers, plus about a million plastic water bottles were gathered. These numbers do not yet account for the millions of tonnes of uncollected garbage.
Reuse disposable food containers. Taking out leftover food from the restaurant? It is likely that you will bring home your food with a disposable plastic container, which you can use to store other food and household items.
Pay attention to what you dispose of. Interesting items collected at International Coastal Cleanup Drives include enough items to furnish an apartment: kitchen sinks, refrigerators, air conditioning units, rugs, tables and chairs, curtains, desks, mattresses, pillows and pillow cases, toilet bowls, among many others.
Be creative! Take part in upcycling activities that reinvent or redecorate once-useless products into new, useful materials.
Support products that have less packaging. Buy in bulk. Buying lots of smaller packs generates more waste. Bulk purchasing saves money, too.
Opt for brands that have less packaging.
Influence change in your community. Learn about the waste management policies of your local public officials before voting them. You can also write your Mayor or local representative to ask for tougher action against garbage, which end up polluting our seas or accumulating in landfills.
Take action! Even if it’s not International Coastal Cleanup Day, make sure to pick up marine debris whenever you chance upon trash at the beach.