Each year during the week of July 1-8 we observe Clean Beaches Week, a national celebration of our beaches. As you might know, July 4 is the busiest beach day of the year, but as consequence it results in the most litter. For this reason, Clean Beaches Week uses the spirit of Earth Day to encourage people to participate in cleaning up our beaches before, during, and after Independence Day.
How To Participate In Clean Beaches Week (July 1-8)
You might be wondering: how can I make a difference during Clean Beaches Week? Great question! The GenTwenty team has four ways you can participate in Clean Beaches Week this year (and years to come).
1. Assess your transportation to the beach.
Before you even get to the beach, consider the way you plan to get there. On average, statics show that 180 million Americans make 2 billion trips to the beach annually. If the majority of these beach goers travel to the beach in their own vehicles, they’re significantly increasing their carbon footprints.
Try reducing your carbon emissions by carpooling, biking, or using public transportation like buses or trains. These methods of transportation reduce your carbon footprint that much more. Every bit makes a difference!
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2. Use the “leave no trace” method at the beach.
While you’re at the beach enjoying yourself by swimming, sunbathing, and snacking, remember to take everything with you that you came with. You’d likely remember to bring home any beach towels, chairs, and bags but don’t lose sight of any plastic bags, wrappers, aluminum foil, or food.
You might think it is no big deal to leave behind a bit of trash, but you’d be dead wrong. If everyone had that mentality the entire world would be overflowing with trash. Take everything with you when leaving the beach, and leave no trace behind!
3. Clean up trash (yes, strangers’ trash).
Did you know that roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans each year? I understand it might not be exactly what you imagine when spending your free time at the beach, but if you volunteer to pick up trash on the shoreline you’ll be making such a big difference in the environment by reducing the waste entering the sea.
The beach is the door to the ocean. Too many people forget or refuse to pick up their garbage at the beach and it ends up in our precious seas. Caring for our land helps protect our oceans, which makes up about 70% of our planet. Cleaning up the trash others leave behind is not ideal, but very important and good work to keep our waters clean.
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Seeing lots of water bottles, soda cans, or glassware hanging around the beach? Consider recycling these items. Not all beaches are managed with receptacles in place. If this is the case at your local beach, consider bringing bags to collect all of the recyclables.
Not only does this work clean up the beach, but you’ll also make some money off of the returns, depending on the state you live in. If you’re extremely passionate about this, consider speaking to your town about establishing a receptacle that other beach goers can use during their visits.
Clean Beaches Week is a great time of year to participate in your community’s beaches to make them cleaner and safer for visitors and our oceans. However, it is not the only time of year we should care about our beaches.
Try using the above advice anytime you visit your local beach. We need to leave our environment in better condition than we found it in. Be mindful of the trash you create, the items you can recycle, and the impact you can have when cleaning up after yourself and even after others. Try putting these tips into action during Clean Beaches Week, and year-round!