Take care of the beach this summer
We love trips to the beach in sunny weather, so summer is a time when friends and family crowd the shores for a picnic, swimming, sunbathing or boating.
And that often means bringing things that get left behind, or making an impact on the beach or the ocean through our activities. But there are lots of ways to look after our local beaches this summer, or others we visit further afield.
If we use our beach trip as a chance to eat outdoors, we might pack disposable items like plastic cutlery, serviettes and straws, and we could have leftover food packaging, bottles or cans at the end. It can be helpful to pack a rubbish bag to make it easy to gather them all together and put them in the rubbish or recycling bin before you leave. That way they’re not left on the beach and won’t get washed into the sea when the tide rises. But because rubbish of different kinds does often get left behind, why not pick up any other rubbish you see, or organise a clean-up event at your local beach? Lots of organisations in your region or around the country hold clean-ups you can join in with.
Watch what goes into the water
Other than plastic waste – which is a huge global problem – there are many things that can pollute our oceans. Some come from what we use at home rather than at the beach, and they include cleaning products that we mix with water and send down the drain after using them. Others are leftover solvents, or garden fertilisers that go down the drain with rain and soil runoff.
Make your boat trips green
If you take a boat out regularly, make sure you’re not causing sea pollution. This can come from fuel or oil that leaks from the boat, paint and coatings used on the bottom of the boat, or from the products you use to clean it. And cleaning up rubbish applies just as much on the water as it does on land – try to keep your disposable items together out on the boat as there is more chance of them blowing away.
Protect sea life
Many of us also love to go fishing and buy fresh seafood over summer, so have a think about how to do this sustainably and maintain fish populations. Among global fishing regions, the Southwest Pacific and Eastern Indian ocean have high percentages of exploited species, with pacific and other tuna stocks endangered. A helpful step is to look for sustainably-sourced species in canned fish products, and in fish dishes like sushi and fish and chips.