There are several reasons why beach cleanups are important to our communities. And many people , especially those not in or around the ocean understand what type of immediate and long term effects these events can have. That’s why I decided to hit up the beach cleanup professionals at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Orange County Coastkeeper, & H20 Trash Patrol to come up with a list of the top three reasons everybody should attend the next beach cleanup in their community.
1. You’ll become more aware of your own lifestyle.
“People should join beach cleanups because they provide a fun environment that fuels an awakening towards the need to examine our consumer lifestyles. After picking up all the plastics and specifically single use plastics off the beach, it’s hard to ever go back to using them or not speak up against them.” – Kahi Pacarro – Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
You see, the cleanup never really ends that day at the beach. All it takes is two hours of picking up trash off the beach and for most people the mindset is completely transformed. No matter how hard they try; grocery stores, gas stations, parks, trails, harbors, beaches, & anywhere else they might travel, the pollution around sticks out like a sore thumb. Simply walking past trash or stepping over it after working your butt off at a cleanup becomes extremely difficult. There is also a really good chance you will consider a more eco-friendly option/company when making common purchases. These two things alone make beach cleanups worth their weight in gold.
2. You’ll get to know the people in your community better.
“Beach Cleanups are a really fun way to volunteer. What’s better than spending a couple hours with family, friends, and neighbors making your home a better place? Our volunteers are uniting through community service, responsibility, and sharing of the natural environment to help drastically improve the quality of their communities.” – Julia Williams – Orange County Coastkeeper
Residents are just attending beach cleanups and becoming more aware of the issues we face. They are also providing a service that saves their city thousands of dollars in labor expenses ($23 an hour to be exact). Think about this: if 200 volunteers work just two hours that’s almost $10,000 in potential savings in one beach cleanup. Crazy, right? Of all the ways to volunteer beach cleanups have to be one of the best for serving your community directly. Enjoying the beautiful scenery with friends and keeping up on the resources for the next generation is what being part of a community is all about.
3. You’re saving marine animals.
“Marine debris has become a pervasive pollution problem affecting all of the world’s oceans. Countless marine animals and sea birds become entangled in marine debris or ingest it. This can cause them serious harm and often results in their death.” –
Patti & Lorenzo Diaz – H20 Trash Patrol
Marine animals will often mistake small pieces of plastic for food, and over time consuming it becomes too much for their bodies. Many of them will eventually succumb to the plastic waste. Study after study has shown that a large number of marine animal deaths are now a direct result of marine debris. All it takes is one tiny bottle cap, cigarette butt, or something as simple as a straw and animals can suffer an unimaginable fate.
You’ve all seen the video of people pulling that straw out of the sea turtles noes haven’t you? Can you even imagine how something like that would feel? Not cool. So you see, spending some time helping out at a cleanup is crucial and can seriously reduce the risk marine life faces.
Now, if you ever have someone asking why beach cleanups are important, or why they should attend, you will have a few pointers to bring to the conversation about the issues we all face. It’s even a little motivation to get down to the beach and lend a hand.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about Coastal Playground’s Beach Cleanup Project
and fundraiser to start 3 NEW beach cleanups in Seal Beach, CA, San Clemente, CA & Oahu, Hawaii.