Most Common Waste Materials Found on the Beach
A lot of issues are affecting the ocean ecosystems and marine biodiversity. The threat to marine life has a huge impact caused by many factors, including waste materials in shorelines and beach fronts. As people continue to ignore how to take care of nature, we will eventually suffer in the coming years.
It’s quite ironic how people are fascinated by the beauty of the sea as they frequent beaches during holidays. But it’s the same set of people who are polluting these supposedly picturesque waters with their clutter and waste materials.
According to a 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the warming of the climate is unmistakable with unparalleled changes over several decades. The surface of the ocean has warmed up by about 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Meanwhile, about 70 percent of the world’s coastal areas have experienced a significant increase in sea surface temperature.
Global warming has affected many marine species in which some of them have become extinct, and a few more are getting endangered each day. In the different beaches all over the world, nothing is spared from being thrown along the coastal waters.
Common Waste Materials in the Waters
The attitude of man towards the environment speaks a lot about the condition of our oceans. Today, you may not be able to see the blue ocean with its marine residents, but floating ashore are different toxic materials that have contributed to the slow death of aquatic life.
Anything man-made in the ocean can become marine debris. These are mostly plastic, glass, metal, paper, cloth, rubber, and wood.
Although materials like metal, glass, and rubber are used for a wide range of products, they break down into smaller fragments that stay in the ocean and could become toxic.
Here are some of the most common waste materials that you may find on the beach:
While these are necessary for fishing, some fishermen may be careless in letting broken fishing gear remain in the ocean rather than taking them home for proper disposal. As a result, some broken fishing equipment may have been discarded in the marine environment.
Abandoned Vessels and Estuaries
Old and dilapidated marine equipment may create a threat to the navigation, recreation, and the environment, when left in the waters.
These are plastics or products made from polypropylene or polystyrene, which are less than 5mm long and come from large plastics that have broken down over and over again. Since these are non-biodegradable materials, some fish mistake them as planktons (source of food of many large aquatic organisms). Once a fish ingests plastic, it can cause death to marine life.
Just imagine what‘s in your lunch basket while you’re enjoying a picnic at the beach. Most of these items are packed in non-biodegradable materials, which some beachgoers carelessly throw out until they are washed ashore.
Ways to Protect Marine Life and Save our Beaches
We can’t ignore the fact that the earth is slowly dying due to the negligence of people. If we want to let the next generation witness the beauty of nature, we should start now by being vigilant in keeping our environment clean and livable.
Here are some tips to make sure that the beach and marine life are protected from waste materials:
Bring your trash with you
If it is unavoidable to bring containers made of plastic, make sure that you dispose it properly by placing them in designated disposal bins, or bringing your trash home.
One of the major culprits of marine death is the plastic wrapping or casing of 6-pack beers or sodas. Although you’re free to enjoy these drinks while you are on the beach, be sure to cut apart the plastic wrapping to prevent marine animals from getting caught in the holes.
Use environmentally safe products
Try biodegradable plastics to decrease the amount of leftover packaging that could possibly litter the shore.
Join a beach cleanup drive
Why not extend a helping hand in beach cleanup operations? Some people may have left their waste materials on the beach, but you can join in efforts to remove these things. You may also let children do their share in making the environment better by teaching them to be part of this.
Spread the word
Make a difference by organizing an environmental awareness symposium in schools wherein kids are taught about the importance of taking care of the environment.
Each one of us should be responsible for taking care of the environment. We only get one chance to see and experience the beauty of nature. Therefore, we should all take a stand in maintaining a healthy environment so that generations to come can experience the same.