Why You Shouldn’t Leave Litter at the BeachStuart Donaghy
When you walk along the beach, you don’t want to be fighting your way through litter. Not only is it ugly to look at, but it is damaging to marine and wildlife. Most people are generally good at removing their litter from the beach, but sometimes as we have seen in many places this year it can become a major problem which can be made even worse by the weather. For example, when a blustery storm hits the coast, the litter escapes from public bins (if it is even in the bin) and ends up scattered along our coastline and into the sea.
That being said, sometimes it takes a hard-hitting fact to really open our eyes to the effects of litter on our coasts. It is estimated that one hundred thousand turtles, fish, dolphins, birds, seals and other marine life are killed by litter every year. Litter such as fishing line, rope, netting and plastic packaging can trap, strangle or suffocate animals. Marine animals mistake plastic for food and eat it, then as they can’t digest it, it can get stuck in the animal’s stomach or intestines. It then acts as a plug and stops food from digesting and in turn starves the animal, which truly is devastating to imagine.
What Litter is Harmful?
One of the most damaging types of litter that can be found on the beach is the plastic bag and this is because it can take up to 20 years to decompose. Just because an animal dies with the plastic inside it, it doesn’t mean that plastic is no longer harmful. Once the animal decomposes, the plastic will re-enter the ocean, free for another animal to eat it and therefore leading to the death of more animals.
Derelict fishing nets, also known as ‘ghost nets’ can be very harmful to marine life. From nets that have been lost or old damaged nets that have been deliberately dumped, these nets pose a threat to turtles, fish and other marine life as they can become trapped in the nets and die. Not only do they kill animals, they can also tear up corals and sponge reefs when currents propel them.
What Impacts Does Leaving Litter Have on Humans?
You might think that loose litter is not that big of a deal as it doesn’t affect you, however, you would be wrong to think this. We have listed some significant impacts that affect us below.
- Plastics are not the only litter that can be found on beaches. Items such as broken glass and syringes can cause serious injury to the beach user.
- Dealing with discarded litter costs local authorities money in terms of employing people and machinery to clear beaches and ultimately this can lead to the public paying increased taxes.
- Beaches full of litter can also deter tourists from visiting, resulting in lost tourism revenue for the area.
- Debris in the sea can cause damage to ships e.g floating netting or fishing line can cause damage by breaking anchors and propellers.
- Marine debris and litter can affect our fishing waters both in terms of the ecological impact on marine life itself and also the economic impact on the fisherman through reduced catches. This can lead to higher fish prices or a shortage of certain species of fish.
What are we doing to help?
We at Wild Atlantic Surfboard Company realise our responsibility in the mission to reduce our environmental footprint. We are committed to keeping our planet healthy and are constantly working hard to make sure we are operating in an environmentally responsible manner.
We have developed ‘Eco Shipping’ which involves us using minimal plastic packaging and utilising more sustainable packaging such as Flexi Hex.
We also actively support ‘Surfers against Sewage’ amongst other initiatives to make sure we are getting involved and helping to grow our environmentally responsible communities across the globe.
When it comes to the products offered in the Wild Atlantic Surfboard Company’s surf shop, we consider the materials that are used in our products and their environmental impact whilst making sure that the quality remains high for our customers.
And to top it off, we are always on the lookout for high quality sustainable products to expand our range of sustainable products which includes the likes of our reusable eco straws.
We all need to be on this environmental mission together. We at Wild Atlantic Surfboard Company are committed to our bit – are you committed to yours?
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