I Found A Way to help clean up the coast

IFAW Marine Campaigner Sharon Livermore and friends with their beach clean-up haulAustralia is renowned for its long, sweeping beaches and coastal beauty. Being a country of beach lovers, most of us enjoy spending weekends with our toes in the sand and taking to the ocean to swim, snorkel or surf.

Keeping these beaches clean and beautiful is a major challenge as litter levels on our shores continue to rise, but being aware of this issue is one way that everyone can help to improve local beaches and ensure that these environments are safe for both people and wildlife.

With this is in mind, my friends and I have carried out a number of beach clean-ups in our local area as part of the Two Hands Project. This project has a great approach to dealing with plastic pollution: take 30 minutes and Two Hands to clean up your world anytime, anywhere.

Armed with rubbish bags, a strong pair of gloves and plenty of sunscreen we’ll spend around half an hour picking up all the litter we can find on a beach (usually closer to an hour when you get stuck in!).

On our most recent clean-up we came away with a huge haul; cigarette butts, food wrappers, straws bottle caps, fishing line, rope, drinks cans and  lots of disposable plastic. All of this litter can seriously affect marine life, as they can become entangled or may accidentally swallow items, or feed them to their young.

Entanglements are life-threatening to all marine life, as they can cause animals to become stressed, injured or to even drown. Ingesting rubbish can be just as serious as these items will clog up the animal’s digestive tract, making it impossible for them to feed normally. This is a serious issue for whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds around the world.

  • Luckily when it comes to plastic pollution, it is easy to become part of the solution. There are many ways you can help and here are a few ideas:
  • Reduce your use of plastic, especially plastic shopping bags
  • When shopping, opt for products with little or no plastic packaging
  • Take a picnic to the beach in reusable containers
  • Refuse single-use items like coffee cups, plastic bags and disposable cutlery
  • If you smoke, dispose of your cigarette butts thoughtfully  
  • Recycle as much as possible
  • Support efforts to introduce container deposit schemes for both glass and plastic bottles

Carry out your own clean up on your local beach or get involved in an organised event!

--SL

You can find out more about how IFAW is finding ways to help animals here.

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Azzedine Downes,Executive Vice President for International Operations, VP of P
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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
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Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Jordi Casamitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales
Paul Todd, Director, International Policy & Program Planning
Director, International Policy & Program Planning
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Robbie Marsland, Regional Director, United Kingdom
Regional Director, United Kingdom
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union
Tania McCrea-Steele, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK