With the season of summer at its height, a lot of people are at the beach right now. And the rest of us (that includes you because you’re reading this blog) kind of wish we were. So since we can’t kick back and enjoy the sand between our toes, let’s talk about the beach, the ocean and what you can do to ensure it remains enjoyable for generations to come.
- Don’t go overboard. Chucking your unwanted items into the water – whether it’s a lake, river or ocean – could harm the marine life below the surface. So make sure you tote your trash, recyclables or compostables to land where you can dispose of it responsibly. A study found that plastics which are not mistakenly eaten by marine birds and animals can quickly degrade, lacing the ocean water with potentially toxic chemicals. Let’s keep it clean by ensuring your plastics are recycled responsibly.
- Ocean to fork. With the rise in world population, more fish have been taken from the sea for human consumption, leaving fewer behind to reproduce more fish. Overfishing, as it’s known, can harm the marine ecosystem, so look for sustainability ratings on your seafood purchases to support sustainable fishing practices.
- Reduce your runoff. Even if you live hundreds of miles from the beach, your efforts to reduce water runoff can limit ocean pollution. Try washing your car on the grass (instead of the driveway) or installing rain barrels (that collect water you can use for irrigation). Getting ready to do some landscaping? Install permeable paths that allow water to drain through the surface and be absorbed in your yard.
- Keep it clean. If you need to do some lawn maintenance, try to limit your use of chemicals, particularly just before rain, which could wash toxins down storm drains and into local waterways. For the same reason, you should pick up after your pet to limit the amount of harmful bacteria in runoff.
- Pile on the sun protection. This isn’t as much about the health of the beach as it is about your health when you’re on the shore. The ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful UV rays isn’t what it used to be. A depleted ozone means you’re at more risk for absorbing UV rays, so slather on sunscreen so you won’t soak up too much sun (whether you’re on the beach or elsewhere).
These simple steps can help preserve the health of oceans and other waterways for when you finally do make it to the beach this summer.