Aah, summer, the time of year when most of us like to migrate to the ocean for a day, a long weekend or the luckier few ‘for a week or two’ where all our ‘dreams come true’ to head to the icy blue, to escape the heat and the routine of our daily lives, for that glorious ‘Summer Holiday’.
We all like to arrive at the beach to find the crisp clear waters glistening and the pure white sand inviting us to set up our sun tents, lay down our towels and bask in the glorious sunshine (covered in eco-friendly sun cream), unfortunately most of our city beaches wouldn’t be so inviting if it wasn’t for those great big machines combing the beaches at dawn, scooping up the rubbish left behind from the day before, in an attempt to clear, clean and prepare the beach for the masses of a new day.
How can we ensure that our beaches remain in a pristine state without the need for the ‘nanny machine’ cleaning up after us?
1. Be Responsible for All Your Items.
Be aware of what you take onto the beach, from unnecessary plastic wrappings, food packets and containers, drink bottles, bottle tops, even food scraps – anything you came with make sure you take it back with you, and recycle appropriately. There are usually bins at the entrance to the beaches or on the promenades, if not take your rubbish home with you. When you arrived at the beach they were heavy to carry, (with the food and drinks - now empty), the containers weigh nothing, put them in your bag and take them home.
2. Be Aware of What’s Around You
. Look around where you’re seated, if you see something someone has left behind, pick it up when you leave and place it in the bin, your vigilance will help to keep our beaches clean. What is on the beach will inevitably end up in the ocean! “You may not have put that rubbish there, but you have the ability to take it away” Tim Silverwood.
3. Join a Local Clean-Up Group
. Unfortunately the beaches need cleaning up after each day of beach going weather, this has sparked a clean-up group by Justin Bonsey on Bondi Beach, Sydney, called ‘Responsible Runners’. As a regular runner on the beach, he was sick of the rubbish he was running over, he asked passing runners if they would help him clean up the beach, someone said yes and ‘Responsible Runners’ was born. "We ended up collecting over 100kg of waste and filling three full-size rubbish bins. That was with two people in just over two hours," Justin said in a recent interview. Check out their Responsible Runners Facebook page
4. No Unnecessary Plastic
. It is important to keep hydrated when on the beach and in the sun, drink plenty of water. Before you head out for the day, instead of buying water when you get there (which is always three times the price) take your own water bottle from home. A refreshing tip: fill half the bottle with water over night and place in the freezer, just before you leave top it up with cold water, and you have a cool, refreshing drink as the ice melts. If you run out, there are also water refill stations everywhere, if not, Aussie tap water perfectly fine to drink.
5. Take 3 for the Sea.
Take 3 is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to raise awareness of all the rubbish that is found in the oceans and on our beaches. Take a look at their site, www.take3.org.au
incredibly eye opening! It also draws your attention to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch discovered by Captain Charles Moore in 1997, it’s a patch of floating plastic garbage! Sounds unimaginable, but we have contributed to 80% of this floating plastic island that is harming our wild life and the oceans. The need for keeping our oceans clean and recycling has never been so important!! You can get involved and help the ocean.
6. No Smoking on Our Beaches
. It is one of the main pollutants on the beaches, cigarette butts are very harmful to birds and other sea creatures. It is also illegal to smoke on most beaches, there is a $200 spot fine (which would seriously ruin your holiday spirits). Not to mention, passive smoking is not pleasant for the 80% of those who do not smoke. Remember there is now a smoking ban in place, smoking is not permitted within 10m of a children’s playground, at swimming pools, sports grounds and recreational areas, and the list goes on. Make sure you are aware of where you can smoke- or fines apply!
7. No Glass on the Beach
. The whole debate of glass is better than plastic is ongoing and there are definite pro’s, however, glass on the beach is a big NO NO! No matter how careful someone is, a glass bottle or container can accidently fall and break, shattering into hundreds of little pieces which will scatter everywhere and be impossible to clean up safely in sand. People always walk around bare foot, adults, children and not to mentions pets! Let’s avoid ruining someone else’s holiday and leave the glass at home.
8. Cleanliness Starts at Home
. The products you use to clean your house can be very harmful to the environment and the ocean life, remember what you spread on your gardens and flush down your drains will end up in the ocean. Using environmentally friendly cleaning products is not only better for the environment, but healthier for you and your family.
9. What Products are You Using?
Your sun cream, leave in hair conditioner, washing detergents all end up in the water. Some ingredients in sunscreens and beauty products can harm corals, which ultimately damage the oceans. There are non-toxic products which are safer for the environment and safer for you.
10. Give a Toss!
Every time it rains, litter from our busy cities and suburbs ends up in the stormwater drains and makes their way to our oceans. Be mindful in your everyday activities and with items you discard at work or on your pavement at home, for it won’t just stay there, it will move and pollute.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be the last person to walk along the beach in evening, after everyone has gone home for the day, to take in the beauty of what mother nature has provided for us, the cool breeze, the glowing sunset, and then to cast your eyes on the unspoiled surroundings, as if no one had been there all day? It can happen, if we as individuals are more responsible for our actions, take pride in ourselves and our environment. When you go to the beach this summer keep this old quote in mind, ‘leave nothing but a footprint’.