Each year, September 21st marks the International Coastal Cleanup Day. It is one of the largest annual preservation events and has over 6 million volunteers in 90 countries across the United States. We even have our very own chapter in Myrtle Beach dedicated to a cleaner and healthier coastline. However, you don’t have to wait until September to start helping out. In fact, there are plenty of ways to keep our beaches clean year-round!
Each time you visit the beach, make sure to clean up your trash as you leave. Coastal ecosystems are very fragile, meaning that even a bit of trash can be dangerous! Once we leave the beach for the evening, and the tides come in and out, the waves will scoop up all that trash people might have left. This trash will not only affect water quality, but it can harm the animals who may mistake it for food.
To combat this, bring along something to collect your trash while you are hanging out by the water. You may also see trash that others have left behind. Perhaps somebody forgot or the wind blew it to you, but please be considerate and pick it up. Utilize those trashcans and recycling bins that are placed on the beach for this reason!
If you’re interested in playing a larger part in the clean-up, you may want to join a local volunteer group or even plan your own event! Recruit some friends and choose a day to head out to the beach. Most pharmacy stores sell trash grabbers or gloves if you would like tools to work with! Spread out along the sand and start cleaning up.
If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, you can volunteer as a water monitor for your local rivers, lakes, estuaries, etc. This is a great way to learn more about your community and when you get more involved, you not only raise your own awareness of pollution problems but begin inspiring those around you! Also, if you are living close the beach, pay attention to your household trash. Water runoff from homes and sidewalks makes its way to the ocean eventually, so be attentive of your own habits and encourage those in your neighborhood to be thoughtful as well.
Thank you for doing your part in keeping our coastlines clean!
– By Olivia Dimatteo, blog contributor for Garden City Realty