Yesterday, I took a walk on the beach with my momma. We always bring a couple baggies to help carry out any litter we see washed up, but we weren't prepared for this. On the two miles of beach we walked along, we wound up with our arms full of roughly 20lbs of trash. Perpetrators included a few dozen bottle caps, two liquor bottles, an oil canister, five plastic containers, several skin product containers, packaging foam, about 5lbs of solidified tar, 3lbs of heavy rope, two plastic gardening pots, a handful of glass shards, a bucket of hydraulic fluid and countless unidentifiable plastic bits. My heart hurt more than my arms from carrying it all back to the car to dispose of it properly.
We weren't walking on a super popular stretch of sand. This was in a Marine Protected Area site with pretty light use on a relatively low population coastline in a region where environmentally friendly thinking is the norm. Imagine the extent of pollution coming from more industrial coastlines. Imagine what comes from your own home...
Sometimes I wonder, why bother? There are more plastic microbeads in the ocean than stars in the sky and the Pacific garbage patch is bigger than Texas. What's the use carrying a few armfuls back out of the water?
Well, a few armfuls carried by many people adds up. Especially if we stop adding to the problem at the same time.
Out of sight is NOT out of mind. You may not see where your trash winds up, but someone or something else will, and let's hope it gets cleaned up before it can wreak too much havoc in our ecosystems. Think about whether you actually need a product before you buy it. Consider alternatives without packaging. Recycle. Buy recycled/upcycled goods instead of new ones. Choose cloth or something else biodegradable as your packaging material. Buy bulk. Drink tap water. FOR THE LOVE OF EARTH REDUCE OUR PLASTICS 🙏 By the way, you may be pleasantly surprised by how it treats your wallet to make a few small changes as well.
I'm open to dialogue if any of y'all have comments or questions, whether to challenge me or to learn more. Discourse is vital in making a society wide change in our impacts.