Connor took us along on a beach cleanup that he recently went on with some of our partners, Reef2Reef and PanaSea. They took a boat to a small island here in Panama and spent the day cleaning up trash that has washed ashore over the years.
You can see in the video below that the amount of plastic trash is incredible. Decades of plastic has washed up on this tiny island and is damaging the ecosystem. As plastics float around in the ocean, they break down and turn into microplastics that fish and turtles feed on, which can be fatal.
Cleaning up the beaches and the ocean is important for many reasons. Turtles nest on these beaches so they need a clean and safe environment to help give the hatchlings the best chance of survival. Preventing animals from eating these plastics is important and cleaning them up makes the beaches more beautiful and the environment healthier.
This is a good example of why Ocean Builders doesn’t want to be eco-neutral, we want to be eco-positive and restorative. While it is great to be neutral and do your best to not contribute to the problem, we want to work to actively fix the problem. Projects like our Aquacycler will help to collect trash from the ocean.
We want to urge everyone to take a few steps to help cut down on plastic pollution in our oceans. The first thing that we can do is simply use fewer plastics. Opt for a paper bag at the grocery store or bring a metal fork with you when you are eating street food. Use refillable water bottles instead of disposable ones. Buy your produce from local markets instead of getting plastic-wrapped vegetables at the supermarket.
The second step is to be mindful of your plastic waste. Recycle your recyclable plastics. Make sure that they go into a recycling bin that will be properly disposed of. Be mindful that even from hundreds of miles away from the shore, plastics can still make their way to the ocean through rivers and run off.
The third thing that you can do is help pick up trash. If you see plastic on the ground, pick it up and properly recycle it when possible. Also, educate others so that they can do their part as well. The oceans are crucial to human life and if we destroy them, things would change drastically, and not in a good way. If everyone chips in a little bit then we can help prevent these small beaches all around the world from having bags of plastic trash on them.