Keeping our oceans clean

Growing up alongside the coast, the ocean is near and dear to my heart. Being on the beach brings a sense of happiness that nowhere else can bring, for me at least. I can remember the days where my family would wake up around 10 a.m., head to the beach and not leave until we could see the moon. Although I have some great memories of living on the beach for 22 years, I also have some uneasy memories about growing up there.

I can remember, as a child, building sandcastles and digging in the sand for seashells, but I can also remember digging up an old cigarette butt or a bottle cap. I can remember watching the seagulls eat clams and steal away the fishermen’s bait, and I can also remember seeing seagulls pick up trash thinking it was food.

Being surrounded by these problems for most of my life taught me, and my family, how to take action to make sure our beaches were clean. I may no longer live on the beach, but that’s no excuse not to take action. In honor of World Oceans Day, here are a few tips that my family and I have followed throughout the years in order to do our part in keeping our oceans clean.

1. Bring a reusable trash bag to the beach

Ditch the plastic bag and try investing in a reusable trash bag to bring to the beach. Plastic bags and other litter, including cigarette butts, are toxic to wildlife on and off shore. Litter is often mistaken as food and can cause animals to choke or get caught in the trash.

2. Pick up after your pet

Please, please pick up after your pets and dispose of the waste properly. There’s nothing worse than mistaking a pile of poo as a skipping stone. Pet waste run off is toxic to beach goers and wildlife in the area and can cause serious illness.

3. Create a clean up group

Creating a clean up group is a fun and easy way to clean up the beaches! Try getting a few family members and friends together for the weekend. Bring a bucket and pick up any litter you see. Cleaning up with friends is a lot funner than cleaning up alone. Plus, you’ll feel good doing something good for the community. Maybe other beach goers will be inspired by your clean up group and get together a clean up group of their own!

4. Dispose of chemicals/toxins safely 

Properly disposing chemical waste is very important. Household cleaning products, used motor oil and trash disposed improperly can get caught in the runoff and pollute our waters. Disposing of these toxins properly can mean a little less pollution in our waters.

What do you do to keep our beaches clean? We’d love to add to the list!

Shauna Willetts