how to do a beach clean up

As the days grow warmer, many of us are shaking off the winter chills by taking to the great outdoors. Be it a neighborhood park, backcountry woods, or the coast, signs of new life are a welcome reprieve from a challenging year. Yet tucked amongst the blossoming flowers and tender grass lurk reminders of an ongoing challenge: litter and plastic pollution. While some single-use plastics and other items are crucial for keeping our communities safe and businesses afloat, frequently used things like takeout wares, disposable gloves and masks, and at-home delivery packaging have increased pollution in our streets, parks, rivers, and - ultimately - our ocean.


The good news is you can help! Beach cleanups are a great way to get active and make a difference: with a bucket and a pair of reusable garden gloves, you can take direct action that will have a lasting impact on your community and the planet. While we cannot clean our way out of the growing plastic pollution crisis, in addition to working with environmental organizations on policy and legislative solutions, sweeping the nearest river, stream, or beach helps reduce pollution before it hits our ocean, helping to mitigate microplastics and other pollutants that harm our waters.

 

Why are cleanups important?

  • Participants see the impact of single-use plastics and other pollution on their local environment.

  • They generate public awareness around issues impacting our ocean, waves, and beaches.

  • They inspire people to take action at both a local and federal level.

 

How do I know I’m making a difference?

  • Organizations like The Surfrider Foundation have had over 100,000 volunteers participate in over 2,000 beach cleanups across the U.S. and Great Lakes since 2015, removing over 650,000 pounds of trash from our beaches. 

  • Critical legislation such as The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act are supported by the work of environmental activists and federal leaders alike.  

  • Countless local, state, and federal policies to protect our ocean have been passed with support of data collected during beach cleanups. 

 

How can I conduct a Covid-safe beach cleanup myself?

  • Follow guidelines like those outlined in Surfrider’s Beach Cleanup Activist Guide

  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick!

  • Maintain social distance, and wear masks and gloves at all times.

  • Check with your local authority on beach use and access restrictions.

  • Download a copy of the Surfrider Foundation’s beach cleanup data card to track what you pick up, and generate your own free account to enter your data into our database at cleanups.surfrider.org (or email the volunteers in the Surfrider Foundation Connecticut Chapter your completed data card: ct@surfrider.org).

  • Consider taking your advocacy for the ocean one step further by participating in the Surfrider Foundation’s action alert to support the federal Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act

  • And have fun!

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