The Trouble with Trash

A sunny autumn day on the Island of Jersey and the beaches are thriving with people.  Today isn’t just about enjoying the coast.  Organised by Littlefeet Environmental - a non-profit that specializes in marine turtle conservation, ecology, and community development, 11 beaches and one underwater site across the Island are being cleaned by teams of volunteers.  “Every year tens of thousands of seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles are impacted by marine litter”, Littlefeet director Andy Farmer explains.  “We are trying to do our bit to take whatever we can out of the water to reduce this impact… Jersey does not see many sea turtles, but because of tidal action, currents, winds etc., our litter can impact on marine animals across the ocean”.  

Littlefeet aren’t the only ones cleaning beaches this weekend.  Every year in September the International Coastal Cleanup, a collaborative initiative run by The Ocean Conservancy, enlists some 650,000 volunteers across the 90 countries to make the World a little cleaner.  In 2013 some 5.6 million kilograms of litter was removed from nearly 21,000 kilometres of coastline.  Some of the items collected are certainly unexpected, like dishwashers or voodoo dolls.  The top three items, however, are all too familiar.  Over 2 million cigarette butts, nearly 1.7 million food wrappers, and some 940,000 plastic beverage wrappers.  This is just the litter we can see.  The more we look at the ocean, the more we find, including in places we may not expect...

The full article was published and can be read in The Marine Professional - a publication of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST)

Image: Duck Patrol by Matthew Kenwrick/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)