Everyone loves to go to the beach, but nobody likes to be confronted with garbage in the sand or in the water. Aside from the "yuck factor," trash on the beach is also dangerous, to you and to the animal and plant life. Broken glass and other sharp objects are especially dangerous and it can take centuries for items such as disposable diapers or plastics to disintegrate.
Several of our local beaches have a Carry In – Carry Out policy, including Good Harbor Beach and Wingaersheek Beach. That means that every beachgoer should be prepared to carry out their own trash when they leave. Being prepared is the key phrase; below are some tips to make your beach visit easier and to keep the beaches clean at the same time.
Ways to Help Keep the Beaches Trash-Free
- Pack your own food or drinks in recyclable or reusable containers, bring real (not plastic) cutlery, and avoid using plastic drinking straws.
- Remove outer packaging or tags from newly purchased beach toys, towels or other items before leaving home.
- Bring a small (kitchen-sized) trash bag or a plastic grocery bag with you to the beach to hold any trash that you generate, and then dispose of your bagged trash at home. Note that some beaches do have dumpsters or garbage bins at their concession stands, and trash can be placed there when you exit the beach.
- Dispose of diapers properly, sealing them in a plastic bag to carry out with you.
- Smoking is best avoided altogether, but if you have to, please discard butts appropriately (in your garbage bag, after they are safely extinguished).
- Should large items like beach chairs need to be thrown away due to breakage, don't just prop it up next to a trash bin. Please take them back home with you for disposal.
- Please don't feed the seagulls or other wildlife! Attracting large crowds of birds with your leftover french fries is a bad idea for several reasons. Aggressive, dive-bombing gulls with sharp beaks can be dangerous, especially to very small children. The second half of the birds' digestive process is also a potential source of unhealthy pathogens, which can impact the beach ecosystem and water quality.
- Note that dogs are not allowed on the beaches in the summer months. Enough said.
If you really want to be a good beach "Do-Bee", be on the lookout for bags, bottles, plastic six-pack rings and cigarette butts that others have left behind and add them to your own trash bag for removal. Please use common sense, however, and don't pick up anything that might injure you or make you sick!
Please help keep the beach safe and fun for all!
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