Whether or not we realize it, we all depend on a healthy ocean. Despite this fact, humans produce one of the greatest threats to our ocean’s health—pollution. What kind of pollution? The California Coastal Commission uses the term “marine debris,” and defines it as any manufactured or processed solid waste material that enters the marine environment from any source.
Marine debris endangers wildlife by way of entanglement, ingestion, and disruption of aquatic habitats. It can also impact human health and safety. Trash in our waterways can affect water quality and the fish that we eat. We are constantly surrounded by items that could eventually end up harming our ocean. So, how do they escape and end up in this vast body of water?
According to the California Coastal Commission, only 20% of items found in the ocean can be linked to ocean-based sources, such as commercial fishing vessels, cargo ships, etc. The remaining 80% comes from land-based sources, such as litter, industrial discharges, and garbage management. As a land-dwelling species that creates this pollution, we are responsible for where it goes!
Trash travels via streams, rivers, storm drains, sewers, even on the wind—and eventually comes to the coast. Most streams and rivers flow toward the ocean, so it’s not surprising when trash that falls into a river ultimately ends up in the ocean. As the species that creates the pollution, we should also be the species that makes sure it stays out of our waterways. There are many ways to take action, including using less stuff and making careful consumer choices. However, one outstanding way to make a difference is to participate in the largest statewide volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day.
Mark your calendars for this year’s California Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 20, 9 am–Noon!
- Pick a Cleanup Site and Register: Visit our event page and choose from inland and coastal sites across the Golden Gate National Parks and beyond.
- Gear Up: Start pulling together your BYO (Bring Your Own) supplies—reusable gloves, buckets, bags, litter-picking tools, water bottles, etc.—and help us make this the most waste-free and sustainable cleanup yet. Recology also will be helping us reach our goal again this year by providing dumpsters or curbside carts, sorting our debris, and diverting 50% of the collected waste from landfill!
- Learn More: Check out California Coastal Commission’s website and read up on the statewide event, why these cleanups are so important, and what you can do throughout the year.
- Spread the Word: Rally your friends and family!
- Bring Your Energy on 9/20!
Be a part of the solution, not the pollution—and let’s make trash extinct!
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