Monday, 19 September 2011

A new generation of beach boys (and girls)

On the third Saturday of September each year, volunteers around the world take part in the world’s biggest coastal cleanup, known as International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day. The event has been held internationally each year for over 20 years, when people head to the beaches and begin removing debris and rubbish from shorelines, waterways and oceans. Since then, the ICC has included inland lakes, rivers, streams and underwater sites, with over half a million people in more than 100 countries participating every year. In honour of this event, members of the green24 team donned our rubber gloves, sunscreen and sunhats, and headed for the sand and surf.

One of the major concerns regarding rubbish on the beach and in waterways is that the debris is often dumped further inland and washed down into the rivers, ponds or oceans. Statistics show that almost 60% of debris collected during ICC Day was from land sources.

Each year there is a major increase in the number of marine and aquatic animals injured, entangled or killed from debris found in the oceans. Turtles mistake floating plastic bags for food and thousands of seals, whales, dolphins, sharks and birds die from entanglement in fishing lines and other debris.

The aim of the cleanup is:
·         To remove debris from the water.
·         To collect valuable information about the debris.
·         To heighten public awareness of the causes of litter and debris.
·         To make a positive change and to promote water pollution prevention efforts worldwide.

In the six hours we spent walking up and down our local stretch of sand, we managed to collect over 80 bags of rubbish, which we separated into recyclables and other waste. After a long day in the sun, there is no better feeling than knowing that you have done your bit for the environment, while getting a healthy dose of vitamin E.

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