Love The Beach? Here Are 4 Ways To Keep It Clean
I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone loves the beach. However, it’s especially important today more than ever to take care of our beaches in order to keep our oceans clean. According to Coastal Living, “more than 20,000 swim advisories and beach closures are issued across the United States” every single year due to toxins in the water. These toxins can cause the stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, and more. While there’s no red tide in Destin, it’s still crucial that we are environmentally cautious. Thankfully, there are a few easy things anyone can do to be eco-friendly.
1. Make sure your garden is “ocean-friendly.”
While technically, it’s unknown what role humans have in starting a red tide bloom, there is a connection between it and eutrophication. According to merbef.org, “eutrophication is the (mostly undesired) increase in the concentration of nutrients to an ecosystem.” Eutrophication can result from point source pollution like a sewage treatment plant or non-point source pollution. Non-point source pollution is essentially widespread pollution from human activities. “Leaching out of nitrogen compounds from fertilized agriculture lands and losses from atmospheric deposition” are common causes of non-point source pollution. Nitrogen pollution from garden and agricultural run-off and the phosphorus from household cleaning products like phosphorus-based detergents are common culprits for eutrophication. In fact, according to Coastal Living, “stormwater and urban runoff are the #1 cause of beach closures and swim advisories in coastal communities.” You can prevent garden run-off by reducing water usage and maximizing water retention.
2. Pick up trash at the beach.
Leaving trash on the beach is dangerous for marine life, so always remember to clean up everything after a beach day. It’s also a good idea to pick up any other trash you find on the beach, even if it isn’t yours. If someone left their trash on the beach, they’re most likely not going to go back later that day to clean it up. It’s always a good idea to try to leave the beach in even better condition than you found it. Likewise, if you go out on a boat, you should never ever throw any trash overboard.
3. Reduce your plastic use.
Every year, marine animals all over the world die from plastic consumption. In fact, according to OneWorld OneOcean, approximately 50%-80% of marine debris is plastic. The problem with plastic is that while it can break into smaller pieces, it never actually decomposes. Marine animals often mistake it for food and it often chokes or starves them to death. Additionally, it can also entangle them and make it hard for them to swim or fly. Reduce your plastic use is by using reusable water bottles and coffee cups and saying no to plastic straws.
4. Respect wildlife.
Whenever you go to the beach, you need to remember that you’re entering other creatures’ natural habitat. It’s important that you never remove marine animals from their habitat or try to capture them in buckets. Destin is home to sea turtle nesting grounds, so it’s crucial that you don’t play on the sand dunes or mess with any baby turtles trying to make their way to the gulf. It’s also a good idea to knock down your sandcastles and fill in holes before you leave the beach. This will ensure that the sea turtles don’t have to overcome additional obstacles while getting to the water. Additionally, if you go to a beach with a coral reef, don’t touch any of the coral because it’s an extremely delicate ecosystem.
Cover Image from @hbgoodie Instagram