2,117,931 Cigarettes

It’s strange to think I went an entire summer without writing a single blog relating to the beach, or as we say in New Jersey, the shore.  For many people visiting the ocean is a quintessential summer activity, lying (with sunscreen) in the sun and attempting to ride waves, what’s not to love? Unfortunately, as beautiful and refreshing as a trip to the ocean might be, there is also a disgusting side to it, the trash that floats ashore (think Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”) I can’t think of a time when I went to the beach and didn’t come across a cigarette butt or an empty soda can.

While going through Pinterest the other day, I came across the following share-worthy graphic of the 10 most common finds during International Coastal Cleanup 2012 from OceanConservancy.org.

Top 10 Trash Items Graphic from OceanConservancy.org

Not so surprisingly the most common find was cigarette butts, followed by food wrappers, and plastic bottles.

Ocean Conservancy and it’s volunteers have been collecting trash, and data since 1986. Ocean Conservancy has used this data to put together an Ocean Trash Index, which keeps track of volunteer participation and trash collection statistics by state and by country. To view Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Beaches and Clean Water Report for 2013 Click Here.

In response to Ocean Conservancy’s trash list I have put together a short list of tips (*some are from Ocean Conservancy) on how to keep your local beaches clean. Just because the summer is almost over doesn’t mean one should stop caring about the ocean.

  1. Use trash cans with lids to prevent trash from “escaping” and finding its way into our rivers and oceans.*
  2. Reduce the amount of trash you throw out by using reusable water bottles and tap water. *
  3. Get political when it comes to legislation dealing with ocean trash. *
  4. Use ashtrays instead of putting out your cigarette butts on the sidewalk. *
  5. Recycle *
  6. When you go to the beach make sure to leave with everything your brought.
  7. Do not release hydrogen balloons into the air.
  8. Don’t be afraid to say something if you see someone polluting.
  9. Sign up for a local clean up. Some options include volunteering through Ocean Conservancy or Clean Ocean Action.*

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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