Cleaning up litter makes every day Earth Day
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- 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 Coasts 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.
Organized by the MSU Extension Service in partnership with the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, Mississippi's cleanup event is held each October.
And this year, citizens will 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 4 celebrations.
It’s easy to get involved. Just go to http://coastalcleanup.extension.msstate.edu to sign up online, and 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 and plastic grocery bags. Or commit to recycling these items.
You can also participate in the statewide Take2Miss social media campaign. All you have to 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 at http://bit.ly/2F14Rtb.
Make every day Earth Day by recycling, reducing litter and repurposing household items.
Editor’s Note: Extension Outdoors is a column authored by several different experts in the Mississippi State University Extension Service.