Help Keep Our Coast Clean and Healthy
The sun sets in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2016. Nine sites are slated for a Beach Cleanup event on the Mississippi Gulf Coast July 5 to remove debris left after July 4th celebrations. (File photo/ Kevin Hudson)
When I think of the beach, I picture soft, white sand and pristine, blue water. But our beaches and oceans have a dirty little secret: trash.
That’s right, several tons of trash end up in our waterways and on our beaches every year in Mississippi. In 2017 alone, volunteers with the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup collected 13 tons of trash from 40 sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This trash isn’t just unsightly. It threatens the Gulf Coast’s ecosystem.
Begun in 1988, Extension’s cleanup event is one of hundreds around the globe that contributes to the effort spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup to remove and index trash from coastal waterways and beaches.
Mississippi’s event is organized by the MSU Extension Service in partnership with the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force and is held in October each year.
And this year, citizens get an opportunity to participate in a second event. Organizers added a summer Beach Cleanup event on July 5 to help clear debris left after July 4th celebrations.
It’s easy to get involved. Just sign up here to do your part to help reduce the trash that ends up in our gulf.
Even if you don’t live near the coast, you can help reduce trash that ends up there. Consider eliminating the use of single-use plastics, such as straws, water bottles, plastic grocery bags, etc. Or commit to recycling these items. Take our “Plastic Free Gulf Coast” survey to help our scientists understand consumer habits and willingness to buy environmentally-friendly products, such as cups, straws, plates, etc., in restaurants. Data collected from this survey will help us develop educational materials to teach people about alternatives to single-use plastics and why they are important.
More ways to help
Participate in the statewide Take2Miss social media campaign. All you do is pick up two pieces of trash, take a picture, and tag the campaign’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages with #Take2Miss. Learn more about this effort here.
Sign up for the annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup here. It’s set for Oct. 20, 2018.
Our beaches are a gateway for a huge amount of trash to enter our oceans. You have likely heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a mix of litter made up mostly of plastics in the Pacific Ocean. While it’s the largest, other garbage patches exist and are developing around the world. Do your part to reduce the trash that might end up in one!
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