Far more than just a clean beach
Surfrider beach cleanups are responsible for the removal of thousands of pounds of trash and recyclables from U.S. beaches and waterways every year. So far, Surfrider volunteers have collected over 79,000 pounds of trash in 2021 alone. But beyond the direct impacts that cleanups have on the beaches themselves, are their long-lasting effects on communities, and the individuals who participate in them.
Once you take part in a beach cleanup, it’s difficult to look around at your local beach, waterway, or even your favorite trail or park without spotting trash. For this reason, cleanups can be a great way of exposing us to the impacts of some of the choices we make and might even influence the way we do things in the future. For instance, when we notice a lot of single-use plastic cutlery or straws on the beach and witness the scale of the issue first-hand, we might be more inclined to refuse plastic cutlery or straws with our next takeaway meal, and opt for carrying our own reusable ones instead, or simply use what we already have at home. These personal habit changes, when added up, can make a significant difference in community awareness and our individual choices.
Surfrider beach cleanups also provide critical, volunteer-collected data that helps their team of experts and network of activists fight for the passage of policies and legislation to help reduce pollutants at the source. For example, with the data collected at beach cleanups, Surfrider chapters have been able to successfully pass cigarette bans on beaches, in part by demonstrating the number of cigarette butts that Surfrider volunteers have picked up from their local beach. The data collected and reported by volunteers around the country helps Surfrider demonstrate the impact of plastic pollution on our ocean and coasts and advocate for positive policies and legislation at the local, state and federal levels.
Be part of the solution
So, how can you get involved?
Take part in a Surfrider beach cleanup! Find one near you by locating your nearest chapter and finding their calendar on their website or social media accounts, or why not host your own! Learn how and download a data collection card here.
Join us in standing up for clean water and healthy beaches. This year, for every item sold on our website from Friday, 11/26/21 through 11/29/21, Surfrider’s network will collect 4 pieces of trash from beaches and waterways around the country.
Learn more on Surfrider’s blog or stay updated on ways to take action by following @Surfrider on social media.