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Last year, REEF supported the collection of over 298,932 pounds of trash, by 47,059 Surfrider Foundation volunteers, at 936 cleanups throughout the U.S., through the Better Beach Alliance. The immense amount of trash collected at these beach cleanups puts coastal and marine environments at risk, and only represents a small portion of our plastic pollution crisis.
Traditionally, July 5th is known as the “dirtiest beach day of the year” here in the United States, due to the overwhelming amount of litter left behind by beachgoers on the Fourth of July. This year, while some of us may not be able to visit the beach, we all share and rely on our ocean, and each of us can take action to help tackle single-use plastic pollution. You can help by taking some simple, proactive steps to help keep our beaches clean. If you’re heading to the beach this weekend:
1. Safety first. Adhere to current local guidelines and advisories around beach access, gatherings and use of face coverings in public spaces.
2. Pack it in, pack it out. Bring your reusables and leave disposable items at home, or be sure to pack them back out with you to avoid overfilled trash bins and beach litter.
3. Leave it better than you found it. Check out Surfrider’s guidelines for solo beach cleanups here.
These guidelines apply to just about any outdoor recreation venue, but you don’t have to be outside or near a waterway to reduce your plastic footprint! Some ways you can take action right from home include:
1. Audit your own single-use plastic footprint. You can find suggestions for reducing your plastic consumption at home here.
2. Stay informed. Check out timely updates on the plastic pollution crisis on Surfrider’s blog. Recommended reading for this weekend includes this article on Environmental Racism and Plastics, and this guide to safely keeping your reusables in rotation during the pandemic.
Spread the word. Sharing simple habit shifts you’ve made with your friends, family and on social media can help inspire others to consider what small changes they can make to reduce their own plastic footprint. Small changes can add up to big impacts!